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Superior Court consolidates Melvin's appeals

| Friday, May 2, 2014, 6:55 p.m.

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has granted a motion to consolidate two pending appeals from former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.

Melvin's attorneys asked the court this week to consolidate the appeals of her conviction and the stay of her sentence by Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus.

Both appeals will be heard on May 20 at the Lawrence County Government Center in New Castle.

Judge Paula Francisco Ott denied a request that she recuse herself from the case.

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. Nauhaus sentenced her in October to serve three years on house arrest followed by two years of probation and ordered her to apologize to every judge in the state and 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 during the appeal.

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 forcing her to write apologies is unconstitutional.

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