Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, convicted in February of illicitly using taxpayer resources for campaign purposes, has resigned effective May 1. Lawmakers had been in the process of impeaching her.
“It is my fervent hope that my service over the past three decades will not be tainted by the circumstances surrounding my departure,” Melvin wrote in a letter to the Court and Gov. Tom Corbett. “I continue to take great pride in the work that I did.”
She maintained her innocence and reiterated her intent to appeal the ruling by an Allegheny County jury. But she said Pa. deserves a fully staffed Court in her absence and, “it is with deep regret and a broken heart,” she would quit. The Supreme Court suspended her last May, leaving just 6 Justices to decide several crucial issues since.
Per the state constitution, Corbett will appoint her replacement, who must be confirmed with a two-thirds vote by the state Senate. The seat will be filled for a 10 year term in the 2015 general election.
Orie Melvin’s sentencing is scheduled for May 7. She is only the second Pa. Justice ever to leave the bench as a result of criminal charges.
Her sisters, former Sen. Jane Orie and Janine Orie, are also in prison on similar charges.