Jon Campisi Jun. 5, 2012, 7:47am

The sister of indicted Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was sentenced to 2-1/2 to 10 years in prison Monday by a trial court judge in Allegheny County for a variety of white-collar crimes.

Former state Sen. Jane Orie was immediately taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies to start serving out her prison term.

Court records and media reports show that Orie, who was a state senator for a decade, was found guilty in March of forgery, tampering with and fabricating evidence, theft, conspiracy and ethics violations.

Orie, 50, a Republican from McCandless, Pa. is the sister of sitting Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who is currently suspended from her position pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into her activities regarding her campaign for her seat on the high court.

The charges against Orie Melvin accuse the jurist of using state resources on her run for office.

Jane Orie was charged with forgery after a trial early last year; she was accused of using her legislative staff to perform campaign work.

That trial came to an end, however, during the first full day of jury deliberations after prosecutors accused the former legislator of introducing into evidence forged documents to help her cause, news reports state.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey A. Manning called that day “the most disturbing and disheartening” in his two-plus decades on the bench.

Orie, who was not just a state lawmaker, but also a licensed attorney, performed the “ultimate lawyer’s transgression” when she submitted the doctored evidential documents, the judge said, according to the news account.

Orie had her law license temporarily suspended early last month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Justice Orie Melvin, who at the time was subject to a grand jury probe, had not participated in the decision to suspend her sister as a licensed attorney.

Orie Melvin faces nine criminal counts relating to her alleged misuse of state resources.

Orie, who represented the 40th Senatorial District in western Pennsylvania for more than 10 years, was convicted of five felonies and nine misdemeanor counts.

The senate seat remains vacant.

In the past, the Orie family has claimed the various charges were politically motivated since there is supposedly a quasi-feud between the Orie’s and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.

It has been said that the two sides disagree on legislative issues.

Zappala is a Democrat while the Orie’s are Republicans.


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