Supreme Court disbars former state Sen. Jane Orie

By Jim Boyle | Dec 12, 2014

The state Supreme Court has issued an order accepting the resignation of former state

Senator Jane Orie and officially removed her from the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, retroactively effective to May 7, 2012.

Orie expressed in writing to the Supreme Court her intent to resign her state law license in October 2014, and the high court has accepted the disbarment by consent agreement. The retroactive date is the same day the Supreme Court suspended Orie's license following her March 2012 conviction on five felony counts of public corruption.

The former senate representative of the 40th district in Western Pennsylvania was sentenced to 2-1/2 to 10 years in state prison. Orie was released in February 2014 and filed an appeal with the Superior Court of her criminal convictions for using legislative staff for campaign work and using forged materials during a trial on the charges. The Superior Court rejected the appeal and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Orie is the sister of former State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who has been convicted of similar charges of using her staff to perform campaign duties during her run for the court seat in 2003 and 2009.

Melvin was convicted in February 2013 of public corruption charges and sentenced to three years house arrest and two years probation, plus the payment of $128,000 in fines and court costs.

The sentencing also ordered Melvin to write apology letters to members of her staff and every judge in the Commonwealth. After her attorneys dropped an appeal that argued the letters denied their client of her Fifth Amendment right to not self-incriminate herself, Melvin submitted the letters for approval by an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge.

Judge Lester Nauhaus called the first drafts generic and unsatisfactory, saying Orie Melvin failed to show any kind of humility following her convictions. She has been ordered to personalize each letter and write them herself, which will then require Nauhaus’ approval before they are sent out.

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