Judge rules against Supreme Court Justice Melvin accuser's hidden identity in federal lawsuit
Embarrassment is no longer a reason to shield the identity of someone involved in a federal lawsuit, a federal judge ruled on Friday in a case involving a key witness in the state's prosecution of Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.
U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster in 2010 allowed Jamie Pavlot to use the pseudonym “Jane Doe” while suing her former boyfriend on a claim that he infected her with herpes. Pavlot filed her lawsuit in federal court because her former boyfriend lived in Connecticut at the time.
In a motion to federal court, Melvin sought to unseal Pavlot's identity. She said the details of Pavlot's lawsuit contradicted her testimony during Melvin's preliminary hearing about Pavlot's medical condition and what caused her stress in November 2009, a time period that figures in Melvin's case.
Lancaster said the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since has limited pseudonyms to cases in which the person has reasonable fear of being severely harmed if he or she is identified.
Stephen Stallings, Pavlot's attorney, could not be reached for comment.
Pavlot, in responding to Melvin's motion, said the justice selectively quoted the hearing transcript to make it appear there were contradictions in Pavlot's testimony. She also claimed Melvin wanted to embarrass her.
Charles Kelly, one of Melvin's attorneys, declined to comment other than to say Lancaster's decision will ensure Melvin receives a fair trial.
“One of her primary accusers is going to have both her competence and credibility thoroughly tested,” Kelly said.
State prosecutors have charged Melvin and her sister Janine Orie with using the justice's court staff and equipment in her 2003 and 2009 political campaigns for state Supreme Court.
Pavlot, the former chief of staff for another sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, has testified that all three sisters ordered her to do political work while she was on the state payroll.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer forTrib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Point Park graduate’s ‘mugshot’ photos hit nerve on racism
- Former city police chief released from federal prison
- Pittsburgh’s HealthyRide system begins launch Sunday
- Inmate assaults Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputy at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
- Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto returning from manufacturing trade mission to Cuba
- Medical examiner: Dormont man found near incline died of multiple injuries
- Newsmaker: Ursula Payne
- Penn Hills votes to sell, lease vacant school space
- U.S. Marshals task force arrests homicide suspect in Monroeville
- $750K earmarked to help Allegheny County ‘Live Well’
- Allegheny Intermediate Unit to distribute $530,000 in STEAM grants to 28 school districts