Ex-Justice Melvin's Conviction Is Upheld, But Her Sentence Is Modified

Aug 21, 2014

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has up held the convictions of former State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister Janine Orie but has slightly changed Melvin’s sentence.

Melvin was originally ordered to send letters of apology to every judge in the state, and she was required to write them on pictures of herself in handcuffs. Thursday’s ruling found the decision to use the picture was “emblematic of the intent to humiliate Orie Melvin.”

The photo was taken by the court shortly after the sentence was imposed, meaning the former justice was then under house arrest and no longer subject to having to wear the restraints. In fact, the judge ordered that the cuffs be put back on Melvin specifically for the picture.

The Superior Court felt that went too far.

In making the ruling the court brushed aside several objections filed by Melvin’s lawyers including the contention that her right to due process had been violated and that the charges against her were unconstitutional.

She was convicted in May for misusing state employees and assets to campaign for the state Supreme Court. Along with writing the letters, Orie Melvin was sentenced to three years house arrest, community service and fines.

Also Thursday, the Superior Court upheld the conviction and sentence of Janine Orie, who was found guilty of conspiracy, theft and tampering with evidence while trying to help her sister run for office and then cover up her wrongdoings.