By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice has been relieved of her duties after becoming the latest politician in the state to be hit with public corruption charges.
Several state lawmakers have already been convicted of using taxpayer resources for political purposes, including Republican state senator Jane Orie (see related story).
Now, Orie’s sister, state Supreme Court justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been hit with nine corruption-related counts.
A grand jury in Allegheny County says it appears that Orie Melvin was not only “directly and knowingly involved” in using paid state staffers in campaign activities but that she was aided by two “co-conspirators” -– her sisters.
In addition to Jane Orie, a third sister, Janine Orie, is also facing charges that she directed state staffers to do political work.
It’s the first time a sitting Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice has faced allegations of wrongdoing since Rolf Larsen was impeached and removed from office in 1994.