Thursday, January 7, 2010


From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jan. 6, 2010:

After abruptly leaving her internship on Oct. 30, Ms. Rioja said, she telephoned the state attorney general's office and was referred by a receptionist to the office of Mr. Zappala.

Got that? In October as Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett was pretending to be in the thick of his investigation into improper political activity among the legislature, an intern calls Corbett's office to report improper political activity among the legislature and Corbett's office tells her to go bother someone else with her silly little complaint.

Do we really need to spell this out? Is there anyone who can't figure out what's going on? Or, rather - what wasn't going on?


Anonymous said...

My oh my, this certainly filies in the face of AG Corbett and his OAG Frank Fina.....

"But Corbett has said he is looking at both Democratic and Republican offices in the Legislature. And Fina said he and his deputies have the autonomy to follow this case to its logical conclusion.

"Literally, the direction is: 'There's the Crimes Code. If someone's violating it, put it before the grand jury and see where it goes,'" he said.


Anonymous said...

If campaigning occurred in Sen. Orie’s state office, then one must ask how much campaign activity is occurring in Sen. Ward’s state offices. Sen. Ward is far more the want-a-be political boss and junky than Sen. Orie - just look at Ward’s resume of “campaign service”.

Anonymous said...

I think Tom Corbett knows his close friend Bob Jubelirer and other Republican Senators as Jane Orie as well as some Republican Judges are just as guilty as the charges brought against Perzel, LaGrotta, Veon, DeWeese, Stetler, and exonerated by the People’s Jurors in Ramaley.

This is a way for Tom Corbett to put the stress on DA Zappala and remove it from the errors he created in the Runaway Grand Juries, but still hold his friends responsible for the same crimes he alleged mistakenly charges on the Democrats.

In effect, he is distancing himself from his old friends in the name of moving onto the Governorship on their backs and ruined reputations!

Corbett is satisfied with the 10 Guilty Pleas and now it is onto the campaigns.

Perzel, Veon, and DeWeese are removed and Jubelirer, Brightbill lost their elections, Eachus is on Deck for Fed Indictments just like Fumo was removed, and LaValle did not run.

Orie is someone he did not like either!


Anonymous said...

Here is the best question, can Corbett Pardon himself, if he is Governor?

Anonymous said...

Those that comment on this site are always quick to point out that Deputy AG Krastek worked very closely with Frank Dermody but fail to ever mention that Krastek also worked close with Jane Orie while at the DA's Office.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Those that comment on this site are always quick to point out that Deputy AG Krastek worked very closely with Frank Dermody but fail to ever mention that Krastek also worked close with Jane Orie while at the DA's Office.

January 7, 2010 3:04 PM

Based upon Tony Krastek poor performance in the Ramaley Acquittal with 800 OAG Employees behind Krastek, did Krastek ever work at all anywhere since he was a Political Appointee?

Based on Frank Dermody's Voting Record of Missed Votes and Absentee Records, did he ever work at all too?

Moreover, of course the only thing Jane Orie ever worked on was her sister Campaigns for Judge.

These may be the three laziness employees in the Commonwealth and you have to wonder who hired them, and set such a low bar for accomplishments?

Anonymous said...

Amazing, isn't it only a crime if Democrats do it? Only a crime if House members/staff do it? Can't possibly be a crime if FOCs (Friends of Corbett) do it.

Some suggest DA Zappala must have a political agenda for the investigation of Jane Orie that was brought to him by an intern...FOR THE VERY SAME CONDUCT CORBETT HAS ARGUED NUMEROUS TIMES IS A CRIME. But Tom Corbett, who went looking for this type of grandstanding investigation is beyond reproach? Even when he ignores his friends???

Give me a break. The words of double standard and hypocrisy are getting caught in the political hack's throat...and the "moral high ground" is crumbling underneath with every step forward.

Anonymous said...

Joan Orie Melvin lets loose with call for judicial reform

By Brad Bumsted
Saturday, January 9, 2010

HARRISBURG -- Sworn in Friday as a Supreme Court justice, Joan Orie Melvin pledged to make it her mission to "remove the stealth nature of the judiciary" and called for specific reforms of the state court system.

"In the wake of unethical back-room deals, pay raises, public corruption and scandals in the judiciary, people are demanding reform," Melvin said as she sat for the first time with six other justices, who were in ceremonial session for her induction.

"It is my mission to remove the stealth nature and the mystery from the judicial branch of government by bringing reform, accountability and transparency. Let the sunshine in," said Melvin, a Republican, after Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille administered the oath.

In recent weeks, an investigation in Allegheny County has thrust the Orie family name into the news. Investigators for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. on Dec. 11 raided the McCandless office of Melvin's sister, Senate Majority Whip Jane Orie, after a University of Pittsburgh student who worked an internship in the Republican lawmaker's office complained that Orie's employees campaigned for Melvin on state time last fall.

The district attorney's father, Stephen A. Zappala Sr., is a retired chief justice of the court.

Through her attorney, Jerry McDevitt, Orie has denied directing any campaign activity. McDevitt claims it is a politically motivated investigation, which Zappala denies.

During the ceremony, Melvin thanked family members and friends for their support and said she was proud of her "baby sister," a former county and state prosecutor who is the highest elected woman officeholder in Pennsylvania.

"Now you are on the forefront of reform issues (in the Senate), and you remain undaunted in your battle to eradicate corruption," said Melvin, 53, of Marshall.

"Needless to say, we are outspoken. We are opinionated. We are very powerful women," Orie told Melvin during the ceremony. "We know our purpose in life, and we stand up for what we believe is right."

One of Melvin's reform proposals is to establish an inspector general as a "judicial watchdog" to help educate people on how to file complaints about unethical behavior by judges.

Anonymous said...

Continued From Above:

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania criticized the Judicial Conduct Board in a television ad during the Supreme Court race last year.

The GOP accused the board of ignoring a judicial scandal in Luzerne County.

Melvin's opponent, Superior Court Judge Jack Panella, a former member of the board, denied the charge along with five other former board members.

Melvin challenged the judiciary to "get to the bottom" of the "egregious corruption" in Luzerne County, where two judges allegedly accepted more than $2.8 million in payoffs to send juveniles to private detention centers co-owned by Gregory Zappala, another son of the retired justice.

An Interbranch Commission, with members appointed by the governor, the Legislature and Castille, is looking at what happened. The judges face federal charges. Gregory Zappala was not accused of wrongdoing.

"Those who were aware of this egregious corruption and abuse of power, and who may have washed their hands of it and turned their heads, should not now circle the wagons to defend their inaction. It's inexcusable," Melvin said.

"We, as members of the judiciary, must get to the bottom of this to make sure it never happens again in Pennsylvania."

She called it the "worst case of judicial corruption and abuse of power in our country's history."

The Supreme Court in October threw out convictions of thousands of juveniles who appeared before one of the Luzerne judges.

Some of Melvin's supporters attending the event were surprised Melvin mounted a reform effort moments after being sworn in.

"But that's Joan," said Allegheny County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Roddey. "She is very bold and very determined, and she didn't hesitate a moment."

"I'm not surprised she came out like that in the first round," said the Rev. Milton E. Raiford, a close family friend who offered the invocation.

Melvin said later that she did so because "I ran on that. It's time for reform."

A former chief magistrate for Pittsburgh Municipal Court, Melvin served on the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court as a criminal and civil division judge. She was elected to state Superior Court in 1997 and retained for another 10-year term in 2007.

Melvin gained notoriety in recent years by refusing to accept an 11 percent pay raise legislators awarded themselves, the judiciary and the governor's Cabinet members in July 2005. Lawmakers repealed the raises that fall because of public outcry, but the Supreme Court in 2006 reinstated it for judges.

That year, Melvin sued the state court system after she was told she had to accept the raise. The Supreme Court ruled last year that she must take the money; she has said she pays taxes on it and sends the money back to the state Treasury.

Melvin suggested a strong vetting process for boards and task forces in the judicial branch, and precluding judicial family members from serving on such panels. She wants to advertise all consulting contracts of the courts, seek competitive bids and post them online.

Melvin's speech, said state GOP Chairman Robert Gleason, "showed who she is, and this is how she campaigned. The people elected her."

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me what a woman will do to get onto the Supreme Court.

They meet. They judge. They execute...All in the name of the law. Restructuring the Court will be her legacy.

Someone has taken justice and hidden it in the law. What if the issues involved old-fashioned material greed?

There's a lot of nobility in the above posts. It must be the in the paneling.

Hey, you wanna hear her philosophy of life? Do it to them before they do it to you.

Anonymous said...

It is a very simple trick all one needs to do is see something from someone elses point of view, crawl in their skin and walk around in it.

Joan Orie Melvin can do plenty of things.

She can make somebody's will so airtight you can't break it.

You count your blessings and stop complaining.

Thank your stars she has the sense to act her age with attitude.

Now, in America our courts are the great levelers, and in our courts all men are created equal!

Joan Orie Melvin, Jane Orie and Tom Corbett will change Pennsylvania for the better.

Anonymous said...

This investigation and subsequent Runaway Grand Juries are a magnificent task of ablution and abstersion garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors.

The behavior of the Deputy Prosecutors are like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king.

This cleansing or purging of leadership from the people and its exponents of brilliant men such as Veon, Perzel, DeWeese, and Stetler but are outright probes into our government by phantoms of power and the OAG men of justice that believe in the law, are non-existent on a path they do not know will follow them throughout their careers.

Anonymous said...

There is no thing endowed with life or justice from man, as seen by Corbett's misuse of th Gand Jury.

Those practices enslaving other leaders, that are the nimblest creature, in all this world that does not sway in its turn, should not be cast out of society.

Whenever action is born from force, though it be infinitesimal, the cosmic balance is upset and the universal motion results.

Blowback comes even if it was never intended!

Anonymous said...

Something Corbett will never utter...."If someday they say of me that in my work I have contributed something to the welfare and happiness of my fellow man, I shall be satisfied.”

Anonymous said...

Legislation Could Open Locked Doors of Grand Jury Process

Posted: Jun 12, 2007

Raleigh, N.C. — A grand jury thought Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong had enough evidence to indict three Duke Lacrosse players for rape, a conclusion that Nifong himself eventually abandoned.

There is no way, however, to go back and review how the grand jury got to its conclusion. There is no record of who said what.

A push at the General Assembly could change that in some cases, especially bribery, political corruption and murder.

It would bring a change in what is now a process wrapped in secrecy.

Even after grand jurors finish their six- or 12-month terms of service, they cannot legally talk about the evidence or information they reviewed in cases.

In April 2006, defense attorney Joe Cheshire used the indictments of the Duke lacrosse players, one of whom he represented, to bring attention to the grand jury process.

"A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich for the death of a pig," Cheshire told WRAL reporter Amanda Lamb then.

That's because a grand jury of 18 ordinary citizens hears only the prosecutor's side of the story.

They are sworn to secrecy and they meet behind closed doors.

"It's not a balanced perspective by any means," argues Raleigh defense attorney Robert Nunley. “There's no recording of what was said to that grand jury."

Consider the case of 18-year-old Peyton Strickland, who grew up in Durham.

He was gunned down while New Hanover County sheriff’s deputies were trying to serve him with a robbery warrant at his apartment in Wilmington, where he went to UNC.

The bullets went through a door. A grand jury returned a true bill of indictment against Deputy Christopher Long for second-degree murder, but after Long was arraigned and the case was on the news, the grand jury foreman contacted the courthouse to say the paperwork had been marked incorrectly.

The grand jury said it had not mean to indict the deputy.

Phone conversations with grand jurors, who spoke to WRAL off the record, indicate they were confused about their authority and whether they could indict on a lesser charge.

There’s no way, however, to review how a grand jury said it mistakenly indicted a deputy.

"I think it needs modernizing," Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said of the process.

"I think it's a very tough assignment. We don't give them (grand jurors) any training or background, and it probably isn't fair to them," Willoughby added.