Convicted former Pa. justice loses license to practice law in federal court

By Jon Campisi | Oct 7, 2013

Disgraced former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin,

whose state license to practice law was suspended by her former colleagues on the high court this summer, now no longer has privileges to practice in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, the chief federal judge at the Western District of Pennsylvania, issued an order on Oct. 2 temporarily suspending Orie Melvin from the practice of law in the federal venue.

In late August, the federal court issued an order to show cause why Orie Melvin, who has been licensed to practice at U.S. District Court since late 1981, should not be subjected to a temporary suspension.

Court records show that the following month, the former jurist’s legal counsel, William I. Arbuckle, III, filed papers stating that his client would agree to a temporary suspension of her law license while she appeals her criminal conviction.

Orie Melvin was convicted on public corruption charges earlier this year for using her taxpayer-paid court staff to work on her judicial campaigns.

The Western Pennsylvania native was subsequently sentenced to a term of three years of house arrest for her crimes.

She has since appealed her conviction.

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