Justice Joan Orie Melvin (R) became the “second known Supreme Court justice to be convicted in nearly three centuries” in the U.S. Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who was “a member of Pennsylvania’s highest court was convicted Thursday of corrupting the election process in her campaigns to win a seat on the bench, triggering renewed calls to change the system of electing state judges,” the AP reports.
In addition to Justice Orie Melvin being charged with a crime, her two sisters are also mired in criminal proceedings. This is a real family affair. According to media reports, Orie Melvin and her older sister, Janine Orie, were convicted of theft-of-service charges and other crimes, while their younger sister, former senator, Jane Orie, was convicted last year and is serving up to 10 years in prison for illegally using staff to work on her campaigns. All three sisters were charged as part of the same conspiracy — using Melvin’s state-funding judicial staff and the state-funded staff of Jane Orie, to campaign for the Supreme Court when Melvin was a Superior Court judge in 2003 and 2009.
The sisters are staunch Republicans who are crying foul, saying their prosecution was the result of a political vendetta by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., who is a Democrat, because they opposed the expansion of legalized gambling. Um, really? Talk about the rise and fall of a political family.