Convicted judge likely to lose pension
BY JOE MANDAK and PETER JACKSON, Associated Press
PITTSBURGH -- Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin stands to lose a sizeable state pension once she's sentenced on corruption charges in May, when the judge who presided over her campaign corruption trial also may remove her from office.
Information obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press from the State Employees' Retirement System through a Right-to-Know request shows Melvin qualifies for a maximum annual pension of $140,322.
The request also sought pension information about Melvin's sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who is serving a prison sentence in a related corruption case. Based on that information, the AP calculated Orie's maximum annual pension at $37,700.
State law requires pension forfeitures by officials who commit certain crimes once they are sentenced or plead guilty, but SERS spokeswoman Heather Tyler said no forfeiture action has been taken in either case, since neither of the sisters have applied for benefits.
Melvin, 56, was convicted last month in Allegheny County of theft of services and other charges for using her former Superior Court staff, and her sister's own state-paid staff, to work on her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the Supreme Court. A third sister, Melvin aide Janine Orie, 58, was also convicted.
Jane Orie, the former lawmaker, is serving 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison for misusing her own state-funded staffers on her own campaigns. She was acquitted at that same trial last year on all charges that she ordered her staff to work on Melvin's campaigns, too.
A sentencing judge ordered Rolf Larsen removed from office when he became the first -- and only other -- sitting Supreme Court justice to be convicted of a crime in 1994.