Judge unseals 'Jane Doe' lawsuit documents sought by suspended Justice Orie Melvin

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A federal judge today unsealed records being sought by suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin to be used in her ongoing criminal trial.

The justice earlier this month filed a motion in federal court asking that the name of a woman who filed a civil lawsuit in that venue be publicly released.

The woman filed the lawsuit under the name "Jane Doe" to protect her privacy. In it, she claimed that she suffered "emotional distress" caused by a man she had been seeing.

In documents Chief U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster unsealed today, Justice Orie Melvin said the woman identified as "Jane Doe" will be a key witness against her in her trial in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

The justice's attorneys wrote in the filing that the woman's allegations in the lawsuit "regarding her compromised health and state of mind during 2009 have direct bearing upon her testimony against Justice Orie Melvin."

She went on to say that the allegations in the lawsuit contradict the woman's testimony at Justice Orie Melvin's preliminary hearing.

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Paula Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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