Lawmakers seek co-sponsors for resolution on impeaching Joan Orie Melvin
HARRISBURG — Lawmakers on Monday took the first step toward possible impeachment of suspended Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, readying for a procedure that appears unlikely.
Two members of the House Judiciary Committee sent other House members a memo seeking co-sponsors for a bipartisan resolution to investigate Melvin's conduct and determine whether to impeach her.
An Allegheny County jury convicted Melvin, 56, a Marshall Republican, last month of theft of services, conspiracy and misappropriation of state property. Jurors found that Melvin and her sister, former court aide Janine Orie, used public resources to benefit Melvin's two campaigns for the high court.
“I think (impeachment) is very, very unlikely,” said Wes Oliver, a Duquesne Law School professor.
Rep. Glen Grell, R-Mechanicsburg, chairman of a judiciary subcommittee on the courts, and minority chairman, Rep. John Sabatina Jr., D-Philadelphia, filed the memo. The full House would have to approve a resolution authorizing an investigation of Melvin.
Two other, more likely options exist for removing Melvin from the court, Oliver said. The trial judge can remove her at sentencing, and the Court of Judicial Discipline has an ongoing case.
Judge Lester G. Nauhaus set sentencing for May 7.
The Court of Judicial Conduct's case could result in penalties, from reprimand to removal and a ban from holding public office. That court can act independent of the criminal case, Oliver said.
Grell and Sabatina say the House has “constitutional oversight responsibility regarding the judiciary.” Grell has said lawmakers must be ready in case Melvin appeals her conviction and that freezes other procedures.
The last impeachment occurred in 1994 when lawmakers removed former Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen after a Senate trial that found Larsen violated judicial standards on one of seven counts against him. The charge leading to his removal was improperly interfering with another judge's handling of a case.
Brad Bumsted is state Capitol reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 717-787-1405 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers RBs Bell, Blount to face drug charges
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her son
- Ex-Titans, Penn St. LB Shaw says he has ALS
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Gymnast Biles alters path, emerges as one to beat at championships
- Stocks shake off Fed’s talk of stepping up interest rate hike
- Steelers are hoping to mirror Eagles’ full-bore, no-huddle offense
- Rossi: Blount brings back Steelers’ swagger
- Grand jury that heard testimony from Ravenstahl aides ends work
- MLB notebook: Giants win protest, will get to resume game against Cubs