Suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie, were convicted of corruption , according to the Associated Press. According to Pittsburgh's WTAE News, a third sister, Jane Orie, was forced to resign her state senate seat last year and is currently serving a 30- to 120-month prison sentence for using her staff to wrongly work on her political campaigns. The sisters have maintained that the charges against them were the result of a political vendetta due to their opposition of legal gambling in Pennsylvania.
What charges were the sisters convicted of?
According to KDKA News, the sisters were found guilty on charges of inappropriately using Joan's staff while she was a Superior Court Judge in 2003 and 2009. The convictions include charges of theft of services, conspiracy, and misapplication of government funds, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
What happens to Justice Orie Melvin's Supreme Court Seat?
Since Joan Orie Melvin has not given up her state supreme court seat, she remains a Pennsylvania Justice suspended without pay, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, since the sisters have maintained that they did nothing wrong, Melvin is not expected to resign from her post. Therefore, the Pennsylvania house is likely to proceed with impeachment hearings in the wake of the convictions. However, it is also possible that she will be removed from office when sentenced for her convictions.
Were any charges dropped during the case?
According to the Post-Gazette, the jury was declared hung by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester Nauhaus on one count, which was a charge of official oppression against Joan Orie Melvin, because of the inability to reach a verdict.
When is sentencing for the pair and is prison time expected?
In light of Jane Orie serving time in prison on similar charges, Joan and Janine are expected to face some prison time for their actions, according to the PG. The date of the sentencing hearing has not yet been set, but appeals are possible for both sisters as well.
Are there any other cases being brought against Joan Orie Melvin?
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Orie Melvin is also facing a case from the Court of Judicial Discipline, which also has the power to remove her from her seat on the state Supreme Court. However, Melvin has a number of options to fight the case, and the exact status of those proceedings are somewhat unclear due to the recent focus on the criminal trial.
Jason Gallagher is a longtime Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.
- Politics & Government
- Crime & Justice
- Joan Orie Melvin
- Jane Orie