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Friday, March 15, 2013

Grell, Sabatina Launch Bipartisan Impeachment Investigation of Justice Orie Melvin

Grell, Sabatina Launch Bipartisan Impeachment Investigation of Justice Orie Melvin

HARRISBURG – Rep. Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) and Rep. John Sabatina (D-Philadelphia) announced today the introduction of a resolution authorizing a bipartisan impeachment investigation of Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

“We take no pleasure in considering the impeachment of a Supreme Court justice,” said Grell. “This entire situation is unfortunate for everyone involved: Justice Orie Melvin, her family and the citizens of the Commonwealth. But our constitutional duty to uphold the integrity of our courts and to preserve the public’s confidence in our system of justice remains.”

Sabatina, a former assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, added, “It is important that due process be allowed to work regarding the justice’s right to appeal her conviction; however, the House of Representatives has a duty of oversight regarding the conduct of the Supreme Court.”

On Feb. 21, Orie Melvin was found guilty of several criminal counts, including thefts of services, conspiracy and the misappropriation of state property. She remains suspended without pay by the Court of Judicial Discipline. If the court finds that Orie Melvin has violated the rules of professional conduct or the Constitution, or has brought disrepute to the judicial system, she could be removed from the bench and banned from serving ever again.

“Our resolution does not circumvent the judicial process already under way because we believe Justice Orie Melvin is entitled to full due process,” said Grell. “Instead, it puts a framework into place in case those proceedings break down or are delayed. It would permit the legislature to impeach Justice Orie Melvin if the evidence and circumstances warrant it.”

“It is the responsibility of the legislature to impeach a justice who has been convicted of a crime,” said Sabatina. “Pennsylvania has been without a full Supreme Court for long enough, and the process must move forward so that trust can be re-established in our system.”

Grell and Sabatina noted that the process authorized by their resolution is the same one put into place during the investigation of Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen in 1993.

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