Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Former Justice Orie back in the news

A former PA Supreme Court justice under house arrest is ordered to court for possible probation violation.

Former Justice Orie back in the news

Joan Orie Melvin, former state Supreme Court justice. (File photo: Philip G. Pavely / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
Joan Orie Melvin, former state Supreme Court justice. (File photo: Philip G. Pavely / Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Oh the news and legal tangles just one family can create!

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that former Justice Joan Orie Melvin, serving three years of house arrest and two years probation following her conviction for using judicial staff to run her political campaigns, has been ordered back to court for possible violation of the terms of her probation.

The newspaper says Orie is scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday to answer questions about why she hasn't complied with a prior court order that she write letters of apology to her staff and 500 judges across the state, and include a photo of herself in handcuffs.

Talk about pen pals, eh?

Orie evidently contends that writing such letters would prejudice her appeal of her conviction.

The Pittsburgh Orie family is familiar with legal attention.

Joan's sister Janine Orie also was convicted of campaign-related abuses. A third sister, former GOP state Senate Whip Jane Orie, is serving a two and -a-half to 10-year prison term for the same sort of staff/campaign wrongdoing and other offenses.

Meanwhile, Joan Orie Melvin's 25-year old daughter, Casey Melvin, last month was charged with insurance fraud for allegedly lying about the date of a vehicle accident so damage would be covered by her policy, which had lapsed.

And that aint all. Allegheny County DA Stephen Zappala Jr., son of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Zappala, sought to move Casey Orie's case to the state attorney general's office since he already prosecuted Casey's mother and two aunts.

But the state AG's office sent the case back, noting that Casey Orie's uncle, Deputy Attorney General Jerry Orie, prosecutes insurance fraud cases.

Imagine family reunions.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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