Orie Melvin wants court to block judge from modifying her sentence
By Adam Brandolph
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, 6:51 p.m.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus is overstepping his authority by attempting to adjust the sentence of former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin, the former jurist's attorney said.
Scranton attorney Patrick Casey asked the state Superior Court to block Nauhaus from trying to change Melvin's sentence at a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Casey wants the court to issue an order directing Nauhaus to take no further action on Melvin's case while it's on appeal.
“The trial court lacks jurisdiction to scheduled a hearing relating to Orie Melvin's sentence or otherwise modify the sentence while this direct appeal is pending,” Casey said in the five-page application for emergency relief dated Monday.
Nauhaus ordered Melvin to appear before him eight days after a panel of state Superior Court judges said she didn't have to write letters of apology to her staff or the judges of Pennsylvania as part of the sentence Nauhaus imposed.
Melvin, 57, of Marshall was convicted of using her Superior Court seat to campaign for the court. Nauhaus sentenced her to three years of house arrest and two years of probation, work at a soup kitchen three days a week and write the letters of apology on the front of a picture of her in handcuffs.
Melvin objected to the letter-writing, calling it “bizarre and abusive,” and claimed it violated her right against self-incrimination that could be used against her while she appeals.
The district attorney's office argued that Melvin “launched the proverbial ship” by issuing an apology in court, but said it would not appeal the issue further.
A jury convicted Melvin's sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, 52, of McCandless, in March 2012 of forgery, conflict of interest and theft of services. She is serving 2½ to 10 years in prison. A third sister, Janine Orie, 59, of McCandless, is serving one year of house arrest for her role in her sisters' schemes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Kesler still on Pens’ radar as Shero aims to bring back ‘Big 3’
- Original tea partyers returning to GOP fold
- Lost jet’s door likely discovered off island
- Earnhardt Jr.’s gamble misfires, Keselowski wins in Vegas
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Spring training breakdown: Red Sox 4, Pirates 1; Orioles 9, Pirates 2
- Allegheny County Democrats endorse several incumbents in primary
- Penn State falls at Minnesota, rematch set for Thursday
- Ex-Colts executive Polian: Approach free agency with caution
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Wrestling programs look ahead to NCAA tourney