'Unorthodox gimmick' in former justice's sentence is voided

A Pennsylvania justice convicted for using publicly paid staffers in her judicial campaign won’t have to write letters of apology on a photo of herself in handcuffs, a state court has ruled.

A Pennsylvania superior court panel said former Justice Orie Melvin will still have to send apology letters to the judiciary and her staffers, but they don’t have to be written on a handcuff photo, report the Legal Intelligencer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pennlive.com. How Appealing links to additional coverage and last Thursday’s decision (PDF), which upheld Melvin’s conviction.

“The certified record reflects that this condition was not imposed to promote her rehabilitation, but rather merely to shame and humiliate her in the eyes of her former colleagues in the judiciary,” said the opinion by Judge Christine Donohue. “In no sense can this unorthodox gimmick be construed as legitimately intended for her rehabilitation, but rather as another form of punitive sanction for her crimes—not one authorized under the Sentencing Code.”

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