Former Sen. Jane Orie to be released from prison early
Things are looking up for the embattled Orie family.
Within a week after a judge stayed a sentence of house arrest for former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole on Thursday announced that former state Sen. Jane Orie will be released from prison early.
Orie, 52, of McCandless, the former Senate majority whip convicted of using her legislative staff to perform campaign work and later trying to cover up her scheme, is serving 2½ to 10 years but could be released from state prison in Crawford County as early as Feb. 9.
The board cited a positive recommendation from the Department of Corrections, Orie's development of a parole release plan, her “positive institutional behavior” and her demonstration of a “motivation for success.”
Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., declined to comment. Orie's attorney, William Costopoulos, could not be reached.
“Jane is a strong woman of faith,” Melvin, her sister, said in statement sent by email. “She has always maintained that it is an honor and privilege to serve those in need. While incarceration might be something that is meant to be endured, not for Jane, it was another place to make a positive difference.”
For instance, Melvin said, her sister established a program to prepare women to re-enter society when they are released from prison and helped other prisoners earn their GEDs.
Orie's first trial in March 2011 ended in a mistrial when she introduced fraudulent evidence. Following a jury trial in March 2012, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning sent Orie to the all-female correctional facility, where she has been inmate OS9360 for the last 17 months. She became eligible for release based on a program that can reduce sentences for inmates with no history of violent behavior.
“She shouldn't have had to serve the sentence in the first place,” said Greg Melvin, her brother-in-law.
Before her release, Orie must tell the parole board where she plans to live, said spokeswoman Sherry Tate. On her release, Orie will be assigned a parole officer and will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests, Tate said. The exact date of her release will not be made public beforehand.
A jury in May convicted Joan Orie Melvin, 57, of Marshall of using her Superior Court staff and resources to campaign for a seat on the state's highest court in 2003 and 2009. Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus last week suspended her sentence of house arrest after the Superior Court ruled that she did not have to write letters of apology to every judge in Pennsylvania on black-and-white photos of herself posing in handcuffs.
A jury convicted Janine Orie, 59, of McCandless of helping her sisters commit their crimes. Her attorney withdrew a request to have her sentence stayed.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or 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.
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Spring training breakdown: Pirates 18, Phillies 4
- Body pulled from river in Charleroi
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- NFL notebook: Browns GM suspended, team fined for ‘Text-gate’
- Pittsburgh man’s bid to delay trial rejected
- Man shot in Hill District
- Pirates’ outfield may have few defensive peers
- Falling bricks close 2 Squirrel Hill businesses
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, out with concussion
- Penguins slip past Sharks, 3-2, in shootout