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Judge denies Orie Melvin claim of immunity

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By Adam Brandolph
Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, 2:30 p.m.

An Allegheny County judge on Friday denied a motion by suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who argued that her job as a judge made her immune to criminal prosecution.

Judge Lester G. Nauhaus said Melvin will stand trial on charges she used her Superior Court office to run for a seat on the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2009.

Melvin's attorney argued that her prosecution was “unprecedented and constitutionally flawed” because of the separation of powers of the executive and judicial branches of government.

Nauhaus said it was not.

Melvin, 56, of Marshall and her sister and former judicial staffer Janine Orie, 58, of McCandless are scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 23.

An Allegheny County jury in March convicted a third sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, of similar charges. She is serving 2 12 to 10 years in prison

Adam Brandolph is a reporter for Trib Total Media.

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