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Former Pa. SC justice not allowed to practice law in federal court

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Oct 4, 2013

PITTSBURGH (Legal Newsline) -- Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's license to practice law in federal court has been temporarily suspended.

Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued the single-page order Wednesday.

Melvin consented to the order while appeals to her criminal conviction are pending.

Click here to view the federal judge's order.

In May, Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Lester Nauhaus gave Melvin three years house arrest.

In February, Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie, were found guilty of corruption for using the former justice's office staff to perform campaign work in 2003 and 2009.

Melvin and Orie also were found guilty of theft of services, conspiracy and misapplication of government funds. In addition, Orie was convicted of tampering with evidence and solicitation.

One count -- official oppression -- against Melvin could not be decided by the jury. Nauhaus declared the jurors hung on that count.

Jane Orie was convicted on similar public corruption charges last year and subsequently sentenced to 2 and 1/2 to 10 years in state prison.

Melvin resigned her seat on the state's high court in March. Her resignation was effective May 1.

In June, the high court issued a similar order, barring Melvin from practicing law in the state.

Melvin has appealed her conviction.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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