Pa. Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin Convicted

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was on the other side of the law Thursday, as she was convicted on six counts of using public resources for campaigning.

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – The Orie family might soon have a whole wing of a state penitentiary named after them, but not in the flattering way, if there is such a thing.

Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was convicted in Pittsburgh on Thursday on six of seven corruption charges stemming from her use of taxpayer resources to help her win election to the state’s highest court in 2009, according to Pittsburgh media reports and the Associated Press.  Her younger sister, Janine Orie, was also convicted Thursday.

The sisters were charged with misapplication of government funds, theft of services and conspiracy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Former State Sen. Jane Orie, R-Allegheny, was convicted in March 2011 on 14 or 24 counts stemming from the same investigation into Orie Melvin’s 2009 election.  She is serving at least 30 months in prison.

Phyllis Beck, a retired state judge and board member with Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, a judicial reform group that advocates for ending judicial elections in Pennsylvania, said Orie Melvin’s conviction was something that could “only happen in a system where we elect judges.”

“When a Supreme Court justice is convicted of misusing court resources for her judicial campaigns, something is fundamental wrong with the system,” Beck said.

Orie Melvin’s conviction is the first time a sitting member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been convicted of a crime since 1994 when Justice Rolf Larsen was found guilty on charges of conspiracy to obtain prescription drugs.

Larsen refused to resign from the court and had to be impeached by the General Assembly.

Orie Melvin voluntary placed herself on leave from the court in May when she became the focus of a grand jury investigation.  She was later suspended by the other members of the Supreme Court.  It is unclear whether she will voluntarily remover herself from the court.

Boehm is a reporter for PA Independent. He can be reached at Eric@PAIndependent.com

Ross Chatham February 22, 2013 at 04:21 PM
" It is unclear whether she will voluntarily remover herself from the court." Remover herself... bahaha. Nicely done PA Independent.
The Illuminati February 22, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Between this judge and the traffic court judges who were charged... is it any wonder why no one has faith in the system?
Dale M. Baranoski February 22, 2013 at 09:16 PM
How is it an option that SHE gets to choose? What screwed up law, rules, or regs ensure that is even possible!? There is your follow story! Have those in power made themselves so insulated from accountability by making laws/rules/regs? Or how about doing a story on other known court judges? Unless of course one believes she is the only one... https://sites.google.com/site/corruptionmatrix/
Liberty 1 February 24, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Wow. She has the looks of a republican woman and the behavior of a democrat.
Liberty 1 February 24, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Our laws have been written to excuse those within the government while holding the public accountable. The people have been asleep for too long and have allowed these things to happen.


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