Former state Sen. Jane Orie will be interviewed by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole in October in anticipation of a possible release in February from her 2 1/2-to-10-year prison term.
A letter from board secretary Kimberly A. Barkley earlier this month to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning solicited his opinion on whether Orie, convicted of political corruption counts last year, should be released at the completion of her minimum sentence.
In a short response letter, Judge Manning, who sentenced Orie on counts of theft, conspiracy and forgery, said he defers to the board.
"Absent misconduct in the institution, I expect release of an inmate on parole at the expiration of the minimum sentence," he wrote.
Orie was held on house arrest for about two months after a jury found her guilty in March 2012. Judge Manning sentenced her in June of that year.
Based on her lack of a criminal record, and that her conviction did not involve violent crime, she is eligible for a 25 percent reduction in her sentence.
That means that she could be released in February 2014.
Orie, 51, is being held at the State Correctional Institution Cambridge Springs.
She was found guilty of using her legislative staff, as well as judicial staffers for her sister, former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, to help her sister campaign for the high court in 2003 and 2009.
Orie Melvin was found guilty of similar charges in February and was sentenced earlier this month to three years' house arrest.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.