Sentencing/Post Conviction

Picture punishment ordered for convicted former justice on Pennsylvania's top court

A former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice will not go to prison as a result of her conviction for using staffers to work in political campaigns.

Instead Justice Joan Orie Melvin will serve three years of house arrest and will have to make amends with an unusual punishment, report the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Legal Intelligencer and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Orie Melvin will have to write a letter of apology to every judge in the state—on a photograph of herself wearing handcuffs.

Judge Lester Nauhaus of Allegheny County Court sentenced Orie Melvin on Tuesday. The former justice will also have to work in a soup kitchen three times a week and pay a $55,000 fine. Nauhaus told Orie Melvin she brought shame to the judiciary and her “arrogance is stunning.”

Orie Melvin was accused of using staffers from the superior court and the state senate officer of her sister, Jane Orie, in her campaign for the state’s top court. Jane Orie was also convicted of using public resources in her own campaigns in a separate trial and is serving time in prison. Another sister who worked in Orie Melvin’s chambers, Janine Orie, was found guilty in the same trial as Orie Melvin and sentenced on Tuesday to one year of house arrest.

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