Jane Orie to be released Sunday from prison

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Former state Sen. Jane Orie will be released from prison on Sunday after serving her minimum sentence.

It is likely that Orie will walk out of the State Correctional Institutiton at Cambridge Springs in Crawford County around midmorning, after completing necessary paperwork and "packing out" her cell, said Amy Boyland, a spokeswoman for the prison.

Orie, 52, was told she would be released after a hearing in November before two members of the state parole board.

Their reasons included her "positive institutional behavior," the "positive recommendation made by the Department of Corrections" and her "demonstrated motivation for success."

Orie started serving her time June 6, 2012, after being sentenced to 21/2 to 10 years in prison by Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning of Allegheny County. Orie was convicted of 14 felony counts during a second trial on charges she used her legislative staff to campaign for her sister, Joan Orie Melvin, for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

Her first trial ended in a mistrial when prosecutors accused Orie of tampering with documents submitted as evidence in the case.

In the second trial, Orie was found guilty of theft of services and conspiracy, as well as forgery and tampering with evidence.

Because Judge Manning set the top end of Orie's sentence at 10 years, she will remain on parole that entire time.

Sherry Tate, a spokeswoman with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, said Orie will be required to report to the district duty agent within 25 hours of her release from prison. She then will be required to meet with her specific parole officer to set up a case management plan a short time later.

Among standard conditions of parole, Ms. Tate said, Orie will have to be drug free, pay her supervision fees and make her appointments when scheduled.

"She just needs to comply with her conditions of parole and report to her agent, and she'll be all right," Ms. Tate said.

Because Orie's crimes did not involve violence, she was eligible for a reduced sentence under the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive -- dropping her minimum time to 221/2 months.

An appeal of her conviction remains undecided at the state Superior Court. The original notice of appeal was filed in September 2012, and the first brief by Orie was filed on April 22. The court heard oral argument on Dec. 11, and nothing has happened yet on the case.

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.

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