Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffreyA few weeks ago, Pennsylvania learned that its justice system spends all its time trading porn over the Internet when it isn’t taking kickbacks for wrongfully jailing children. This all came to light as part of the ongoing investigation into Why-Did-None-of-You-Do-Anything-About-Jerry-Sanduskygate because of course it did. You can’t be expected to do anything about an inveterate child molester when you’ve got one hand… well, doing other things.

The investigation found its way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where Justice Seamus McCaffrey received around 60 of these emails and forwarded at least 8 to someone at the AG’s office.

As of yesterday, Justice McCaffrey is temporarily out of a job courtesy of a salacious Per Curiam Order denouncing the alleged traffic in “highly demeaning portrayals of members of various segments of the population, including women, elderly persons, and uniformed school girls.”

Perfect. And it turns out trading porn is the least of the allegations against Justice McCaffrey….

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Justice Joan Orie Melvin

* How are Nevada and Idaho officials reacting to yesterday’s Ninth Circuit ruling striking down gay marriage bans in those states, and how soon might marriages get underway? [BuzzFeed]

* In other LGBT legal news, New York City is likely to make it easier for transgender individuals to amend their birth certificates. [New York Times]

* Good news for Joan Orie Melvin, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice turned convicted felon: her unorthodox sentence has been stayed (again). [How Appealing]

* Eduardo Leite, who has led Baker & McKenzie since 2010, gets another two years at the helm of Biglaw’s biggest firm. [American Lawyer]

* Cravath associate Micaela McMurrough scores a victory in tax court for artists. [New York Times]

* The ABA has issued a new opinion addressing ethical issues raised during the sale of a law practice. [American Bar Association]

* Why do lawyers blog? Tim Baran of Rocket Matter talks to 23 of us. [Legal Productivity]

‘Why is your keyboard so sticky, Your Honor?’

The scandalous “porngate” controversy has been brewing for a while now in Pennsylvania. If you’re not familiar with what happened, it seems that hundreds of pornographic and racy emails were exchanged between dozens of state government employees and officials from 2008 to 2012. The vast majority of those emails were sent or read on state email accounts. Thus far, the names of eight former employees of the attorney general’s office have been released as being involved in the erotic email exchange, and two people have already resigned from their positions.

Late last week, the chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court demanded information on whether any of the justices seated on his bench had taken part in any of the sexy email swaps. Days later, we now know that at least one of the justices may have been improperly banging his gavel alongside state officials.

Which justice allegedly traded sexually explicit emails with his colleagues?

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Justice Joan Orie Melvin

Justice Joan Orie Melvin is a member of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. As touted on the court’s website, it is “the highest court in the Commonwealth and the oldest appellate court in the nation.”

Yesterday the court acquired a more dubious distinction: it’s the latest state supreme court to see one of its members convicted of a serious felony. And yes, we mean “latest,” not “only” or “first.” Just last month, for example, former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud. Here in New York, Chief Judge Sol Wachtler of the Court of Appeals, our state’s highest court, served a prison sentence back in the early 1990s.

(Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Back in 2004, I opined that “state court judges are icky.” Article III all the way, baby.)

Back to Justice Orie Melvin of Pennsylvania. What could send Her Honor from the high court to the big house?

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