From the main site, Paula Reed Ward's story on the continuing saga of the Orie sisters, with Justice Joan Orie Melvin facing charges:
State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin surrendered to authorities this afternoon to face nine criminal counts pertaining to her alleged use of state resources for campaign purposes.
She arrived at City Court, Downtown, at 1:40 p.m., accompanied by her brother, attorney Jack Orie, and one of her daughters, Casey Melvin.
"I am a woman of faith," Justice Melvin said after she was released without bond following a video arraignment. "My strong faith in God is the cornerstone of my life. My faith will see me through this."
She denied the allegations against her.
"I entered a plea of not guilty today and I will vigorously defend these politically motivated charges," she said. "The voters overwhelmingly sent me to the Supreme Court and I will not resign because of these politically motivated charges."
She took no questions after speaking, walking briskly to a waiting car.
Allegheny County assistant district attorney Lawrence N. Claus called Justice Melvin's comments "disingenuous."
"It is somewhat disappointing to hear the same old rhetoric," he said.
Earlier today, Justice Melvin informed the court that she would voluntarily step aside from all duties as a result of the charges filed against her today.
According to a letter Justice Melvin's attorney submitted to Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, she said she would recuse.
"In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety and in accordance with precedent, Justice Orie Melvin is voluntarily recusing herself from all judicial duties pending resolution of the criminal charges," wrote William I. Arbuckle III, who has been representing the justice in a pending Judicial Conduct Board investigation.
He continued, "She is not resigning from the court. The justice denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend these politically motivated criminal charges."