PITTSBURGH – Former Republican state Sen. Jane Orie, who was convicted of using her legislative staff for her sister’s campaign for state Supreme Court judge, has been released from prison after serving less than two years.
A spokeswoman for the State Correctional Institution at Cambridge Springs said the 52-year-old Orie was released early Sunday morning.
Orie was sentenced in June 2012 to 2½ to 10 years in prison by an Allegheny County judge. She was released early because of credit for good behavior and a rule that let her serve 75 percent of her minimum term because she’s a nonviolent criminal.
Orie was told after a November parole board hearing she would be released following the completion of her minimum sentence. The parole board noted her “positive institutional behavior,” the “positive recommendation made by the Department of Corrections” and her “demonstrated motivation for success,” according to information provided by SCI-Cambridge Springs.
Her release comes as the appeal of her conviction and sentence is still pending. Orie was convicted for using her legislative staff to campaign for her sister, former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.
Orie plans to return to Pittsburgh’s North Hills suburbs and live with her father, a retired physician.
Melvin, 57, was charged separately and convicted of using her own Superior Court staffers to run her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the Supreme Court. Melvin has since been removed from the court and was sentenced to three years’ house arrest and other penalties, but that’s been suspended while she, too, appeals her conviction.