Melvin quits Pa. Supreme Court as of May 1

Updated:

PITTSBURGH —

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who awaits sentencing in a criminal case, is resigning from the bench effective May 1.

A letter sent Monday from Justice Melvin to Gov. Tom Corbett said she made the decision "with deep regret and a broken heart."

Melvin's letter said she plans to appeal the jury's verdict, in which she was found guilty of theft and other offenses for using government employees to work on her 2003 and 2009 campaigns for the high court.

Melvin is due to be sentenced May 7.

Her letter said she's thankful to God "for the great gift of serving in the judiciary" and lists her accomplishments.

Corbett issued the following statement on receiving a letter of resignation from State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin: "I believe the decision by Justice Orie Melvin to resign is the correct one. This will save taxpayers the time and expense of impeachment proceedings in the House and Senate, and allow legislators to focus on other important issues.''

Corbett has 90 days from May 1, the date the vacancy occurs on the state Supreme Court, to submit a nominee to fill the vacancy.

This nominee, upon confirmation by two-thirds of the Senate, will serve until Jan. 5, 2016. A successor will be elected in November 2015.

"I will submit a nominee to the Senate as soon as practical within that time frame to bring our Supreme Court back to its full complement of seven justices," Corbett said.