Judge says Joan Orie Melvin public corruption trial will be held sooner rather than later
By Adam Brandolph
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012, 11:22 a.m.
Updated: Saturday, September 15, 2012
A newly assigned judge wants suspended Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's public corruption trial to occur sooner rather than later, he said Friday.
“I can suggest to you that is way too far in the future,” Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus told Melvin's attorney, Pat Casey, who said he would be ready for the case in February.
“This is not going to be tried in February,” Nauhaus said. “It's too cold in Pittsburgh in February to try this case.”
James DePasquale, the lawyer representing Melvin's sister and former aide, Janine Orie, said he would be ready to try the case as soon as possible.
Judge Jeffrey A. Manning last month ordered Orie and Melvin to stand trial together. Manning reassigned the case to Nauhaus, a former criminal division judge who spent the past 21⁄2 years in Orphan's Court.
Casey and DePasquale met on Friday to discuss evidence that Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Claus is required to share with the defense. Attorneys are scheduled to meet with Nauhaus next week to finalize that discussion.
Melvin, 56, of Marshall faces seven charges that she used her taxpayer-funded Superior Court staff illegally to campaign for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2009.
Orie, 58, of McCandless is charged with orchestrating employees to perform campaign work in Melvin's judicial office and in the office of a third sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, who was convicted in March and sentenced to 21⁄2 to 10 years in prison.
The Republican Orie family has called the sisters' prosecution politically motivated, a claim that District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., a Democrat, denies.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.