Former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice Joan Orie Melvin was sentenced this week to three years house arrest followed by two years probation after her conviction on six criminal counts, including three felonies, for using her judicial staff on the Superior Court to work on her Supreme Court election campaigns. While there's been some criticism of the lack of jail time, It's the additional part of the sentence that is drawing the most attention: Orie Melvin was ordered to go into chambers at the end of the sentencing hearing, be handcuffed by a sheriff's deputy, and photographed, and to send copies of the photograph to 500 of the state's judges with a note of apology. She must also send handwritten apologies to the state workers she ordered to perform illegal work.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which says that the sentence was meant to humiliate the former justice asked legal experts about the sentence, talked to experts on shaming and constitutional scholars about the sentence's constitutionality for this story. Bottom line: yes, the sentence is humiliating, and no, it may not pass constitutional muster.