Judicial court proves to be unjust toward Justice Melvin
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A fundamental principle of American jurisprudence is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The recent decision of the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline that state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin should not receive pay as she awaits the outcome of criminal charges against her should alarm all fair-minded people because the board has already tried her and found her guilty while she awaits her day in court.
Since the panel is composed of judges, one would have expected that they would have been very judicious in the words that they used in their ruling. This was not the case. President Judge Robert E.J. Curran wrote: "We see this respondent as so single-mindedly occupied with achieving personal aggrandizement that she pressured, intimidated and bullied her clerks and secretaries into performing work on her political campaigns." He characterized that bullying as "relentless."
Since none of the judges testified that they were present during any interaction between Justice Melvin and her accusers, how do they know what transpired? Their decision indicates that the accusers are telling the truth and Justice Melvin is not. Based on what? They never saw or heard the accusers in person. Justice Melvin has the right to a trial by jury. With the announcement of their decision in the media, how can Justice Melvin possibly expect a fair trial?
The judges on the judicial panel have done her a great injustice.
REV. SCOTT SEETHALER
First Published September 5, 2012 12:00 am