Thursday, September 20, 2007

Judge Orie Melvin gets a reprieve

PACleanSweep, the reform watchdog group that has called for the defeat of all Pennsylvania judges seeking retention in the Nov. 6 election, has issued a reprieve for one candidate.

The group says it has removed Superior Court Judge Joan Orie Melvin from its list of judges who should be rejected by voters.

Orie Melvin's name was moved off the "No" list after PaCleanSweep received documentation Wednesday that the judge had returned $14,402.55 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The figure represents the after-tax amount Orie Melvin received under the Act 44 pay raise during the years 2005, 2006 and through the end of 2007, PaCleanSweep says.

"We believe Judge Orie Melvin has done everything in her power to personally reject the judicial swindle," said PACleanSweep Chairman Russ Diamond. "We cannot hold her responsible for taxes deducted by government entities and we're inclined to believe she did her best in determining the net payback figure. We've been provided a worksheet which calculates the taxes withheld from a gross amount of $24,502.47.

Diamond issued a challenge to every other judge in the Commonwealth to follow suit and make good on their oaths of office.

"Only then should Pennsylvanians engage in debate regarding their rulings, opinions and decisions," Diamond said.

Say what you will about Diamond's efforts to sweep out all of the state's judges, but the fact that one judge felt compelled to do the right thing makes the campaign a success even before any ballots are cast. The defeat of even one appellate court judge on Nov. 6 would be another strong signal to the political aristocracy running Pennsylvania that the people have had enough.

You can read more about the group's "Judicial Clean Sweep" campaign to punish the state's judges for taking the July 2005 pay raise at

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