Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has finally resigned in advance of her sentencing in early May. She and two sisters were convicted in the past year of using their state offices, resources and staffs to run Orie Melvin’s two Supreme Court campaigns. Former State Senator Jane Orie is already in prison. Janine Orie was convicted with Orie Melvin in February. The House Judiciary Committee was already advancing impeachment proceedings when the resignation was announced this week.
This leaves the Supreme Court divided 3-3 on partisan lines so any deadlocks will uphold whatever Superior and Commonwealth Court cases wind up in tie votes. Gov. Corbett must now appoint someone to resume the eight years of the ten year term now vacated by Justice Orie Melvin. The State Senate must approve that nominee by two thirds vote meaning the 27-23 GOP majority must gain bipartisan support to approve the Governor’s choice. This means that person must be a moderate, at least.
Superior Court Judge Jack Panella of Bethlehem ran against Orie Melvin but was handicapped by her illegal use of state employees on her campaign. He should be the obvious choice since he was the only candidate for the seat who ran a clean, legal campaign.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was convicted today following four days of jury deliberations. She was convicted of using government funds and staff to campaign for the Commonwealth’s highest court in both 2003 and 2009. Her sister Janine Orie was also convicted. The jury couldn’t come to agreement on one charge of official oppression. The sisters can join former State Senator Jane Orie in state prison. This is proof that the family which corrupts together gets to stay in prison together. The Justice now must be removed from the Court and Gov. Corbett will appoint a replacement who will serve the balance of her ten year term.
I heard a lot of rumors about how the former Superior Court Judge was conducting her 2009 campaign and knew it was rife with corruption. I wrote about some of those allegations at the time.
Are they fitting Jane Orie for an orange jumpsuit yet? Testimony in the corruption trial of the third ranking Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate is ongoing though it all may be anticlimactic after her chief of staff took the stand for the prosecution. This woman is fried. Jamie Pavlot, to whom every current and former staffer who testified said directed their campaign and political activities on the taxpayer dime, said it was all micromanaged by Orie herself.
“She was very hands-on, liked to micromanage,” Ms. Pavlot said of Ms. Orie. “She was in control.”
I don’t see how the Republican’s lawyer keeps her out of prison after all this evidence she ran campaigns from her state offices using staffers and taxpayer resources. I also don’t see how Tom Corbett explains why his AG’s office didn’t prosecute after going after numerous Democrats for the same offenses. Sister Joan Orie Melvin also looks very badly as a result of this trial. Two staffers have told how they drove the Justice to campaign appearances on state time. Jane Orie, following her intern’s visit to the prosecutor, tried covering up her crime by posting a sign on an office saying it was Joan’s campaign office. Of course simply printing and posting a sign doesn’t make a campaign office when Pennsylvania taxpayers are paying for the space. What that does do is show consciousness of guilt.
I wonder how orange will go with that blonde mane? At least Jane will be in close proximity with lots of other women so perhaps not all is lost.