Share This Page

Judge: Computer hardware seized during Orie and Melvin investigations stays with state police

| Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 5:27 p.m.

State police can keep computer hardware that investigators used to prosecute former state Sen. Jane Orie and her two sisters, an Allegheny County judge ruled.

Common Pleas Judge John A. Zottola ruled late Friday that Pennsylvania State Police will keep the email server and 15 hard drives taken during a raid of Orie's McKnight Road offices in December 2009.

Mark Seiberling, an attorney for the Senate Republican Caucus, argued last month that the hardware no longer serves a purpose for the state since jury trials convicted the sisters of misusing state resources for campaigns. Seiberling said prosecutors have copies of the equipment.

Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus argued the state should keep the equipment during court appeals.

Seiberling could not be reached for comment on Monday. Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., declined comment.

A jury in March 2012 convicted Orie, 51, of McCandless of forgery, conflict of interest and theft of services. She is serving 2 12 to 10 years in prison.

Her sister, former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, 57, of Marshall, was found guilty of using her judicial staff to run her election campaigns in 2003 and 2009. She was ordered to serve three years' house arrest and two years' probation and pay $55,000 in fines.

A third sister, Janine Orie, 59, of McCandless, is serving one year of house arrest for her role in her sisters' schemes.

Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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.