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Orie Melvin appeal to be heard next month in Lawrence County

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Friday, April 11, 2014, 10:45 a.m.

A three-judge Pennsylvania Superior Court panel will hear oral arguments next month on former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's appeal of her conviction on corruption charges.

The panel, which will meet at the Lawrence County Government Center in New Castle on May 20, will be comprised of Judges Christine Donohue, Paula Francisco Ott and Senior Judge John L. Musmanno.

A jury in May found Melvin, 58, of Marshall guilty of six counts for using her seat on the Superior Court to run her campaign for the state's highest court in 2003 and 2009.

Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus sentenced her in October to serve three years on house arrest followed by two years of probation, ordered her to apologize to every judge in the state and to pay $128,000 in fines, restitution and court costs. Nauhaus stayed the sentence a month later so she wouldn't receive credit for time served.

Melvin is seeking a new trial based on 20 issues, including whether there was enough evidence to convict her, whether a judge approved search warrants that were too broadly defined, and whether Nauhaus deprived her of a fair trial. She also claims that the apology-writing portion of her sentence is unconstitutional.

Melvin is one of three sisters convicted of using political office for personal gain.

Former state Sen. Jane Orie, 53, of McCandless was released from prison in February after serving the minimum of her 2½- to 10-year prison sentence on charges of forgery, conflict of interest and theft of services.

Janine Orie, 59, of McCandless, a former Melvin staffer, is serving one year of house arrest for her role in her sisters' schemes.

Adam Brandolph is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-391-0927 or




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