Joan Orie Melvin

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.”

Former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin is due in court to explain why she hasn't yet sent autographed pictures of herself in handcuffs apologizing to other state judges for her campaign corruption conviction earlier this year.

Melvin's attorneys say the apologies unfairly force Melvin to incriminate herself while she appeals her conviction. Last week, the state Superior Court agreed and ordered that part of Melvin's sentence be delayed.

But prosecutors say Melvin has already apologized in court, so mailing more apologies shouldn't violate her rights.

The newest member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to be sworn in July 30th.

Gov. Tom Corbett’s nominee, Correale Stevens, was confirmed by the Senate on a 50-0 vote on June 30, returning the court to a four-to-three Republican majority and filling the vacant seat left by the resignation of Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

The 66-year-old judge from Luzerne County will serve through 2016 — the end of Melvin’s term.

Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's campaign corruption conviction will cost her not only three years on house arrest but also nearly $128,000 in fines, restitution and court costs.

Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been sentenced to three years house arrest and two years of probation for misusing her Superior Court staff to aid in her campaign efforts.
 
Melvin, 57, was found guilty of using the staff in her failed campaign in 2003 and then again during her successful campaign in 2009.
 
Allegheny County Judge Lester Nauhaus said he does not believe Melvin is an evil person, but he said her "arrogance is stunning."

Gov. Tom Corbett isn’t giving any indication of what kind of influence the Senate Democrats may have over who he’ll nominate to fill an upcoming vacancy on the state Supreme Court.

The minority caucus will be crucial, since confirmation requires a two-thirds vote in the Senate.   

Last week, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent Corbett a list of five names – all Republican judges – from which to choose to guarantee a swift confirmation process.

One legal observer says the state Supreme Court is all talk, no action when it comes to making its own pick to replace the suspended justice who plans to resign in May.

The interim judge will fill the seat of suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who’s resigning in May as she awaits sentencing for campaign corruption.

The high court’s chief justice suggests his colleagues might make their own choice for a replacement, preempting an appointment by the governor to fill the vacancy.

The state Supreme Court’s chief justice is emphasizing how much the high court needs a seventh member – and soon.  

Ron Castille says now that suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin plans to resign in May, the slot should be filled.

Gov. Tom Corbett says he plans to nominate someone for the seat.

But Castille says the court might be able to appoint an interim justice more quickly since it wouldn’t need the state Senate to confirm its selection with a two-thirds majority vote.  

A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice who was convicted last month of using taxpayer-paid staff for political campaigns told the governor Monday she is resigning from the bench as of May 1, about a week before she will learn her sentence.

The letter from Justice Joan Orie Melvin to Gov. Tom Corbett said she made the decision "with deep regret and a broken heart."

Pa. House Resolution Introduced in Move Vs. Judge

Mar 15, 2013

The names of more than 40 members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives are on a resolution that could lead to impeachment proceedings against a sitting state Supreme Court justice.

The resolution, introduced Thursday, would authorize the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the conduct of Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

The resolution's sponsors include the Democratic and Republican chairmen of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as a majority of the committee's 25 members.

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin stands to lose a sizeable state pension once she's sentenced on corruption charges in May.

Information obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press from the State Employees' Retirement System through a Right-to-Know request shows Melvin qualifies for a maximum annual pension of as much as $140,322.

The request also covered Melvin's sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who is serving a prison sentence in a related corruption case. Based on that information, the AP calculated Orie's maximum annual pension at $37,700.

Unified Judicial System of PA

The conviction of suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin on campaign corruption charges is being used as a springboard by an activist group looking to end partisan elections for judges.  Melvin was found guilty of misusing state-paid staff to help run her campaign for the state’s highest court.

“You realize there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we are choosing judges, “said Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Executive Director Lynn Marks.  “After all this could only happen in a system where we elect judges.”

Melvin Convicted

Feb 21, 2013

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been convicted of six of seven campaign corruption charges while her sister Janine Orie has been convicted of the six counts she faced.

Janine Orie was an administrative assistant to Melvin.

Orie Melvin Case Sent to the Jury

Feb 15, 2013
pacourts.us

Attorneys for suspended Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister Janine Orie made their closing arguments to a jury