HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The husband of a Pennsylvania appellate judge who is running for the state's highest court began serving a prison sentence Tuesday in a long-running case involving theft and misappropriation of funds.

Charles McCullough's incarceration comes as voters decide whether to back his wife, Commonwealth Judge Patricia McCullough, in her bid for an open seat on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.

Patricia McCullough is seeking the Republican nomination in May 18′s primary election against two fellow Republican judges, Commonwealth Judge Kevin Brobson and Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Paula Patrick.

In a candidates forum held last month, the moderator asked McCullough and other candidates why they want to leave their current judicial post for one on the state's highest court.

“I think I bring a different perspective to the court," McCullough said. "I believe in restorative and equal justice and I’ve worked with many, many programs to improve the system of justice, and I find that it’s most advantageous to be working at it from the very top down, although you can be very influential at this level.”

The subject of her husband's case did not come up during the 90-minute forum.

Patricia McCullough has served on the Commonwealth Court for 12 years, first elected to a 10-year term in 2009, the year her husband was charged. She did not return messages left at her office Tuesday.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court denied Charles McCullough’s latest appeals. He is currently representing himself.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala's office said McCullough reported as ordered Tuesday morning and was taken into custody to begin serving a state sentence of 2 1/2 to five years in prison.

Charles McCullough, 66, a former Allegheny County council member, was convicted of theft and misappropriation of funds in 2015 for using his power of attorney to take $50,000 from an elderly woman's trust fund.

He spent the money in 2006 and 2007, using $40,000 for campaign contributions and sending the other $10,000 to a charity, according to court records.

McCullough was charged in 2009. He had argued at his trial that he had the widow’s approval to use the money and had remained free on appeal since his sentencing.

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Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/timelywriter.

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