Judge sets resentencing hearing for Joan Orie Melvin

Judge says he will address technicality, but sentence will not really change

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The judge who sentenced a former state Supreme Court justice to three years house arrest has scheduled a resentencing hearing for Tuesday.

An attorney for Joan Orie Melvin, 57, of Marshall, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester Nauhaus said this afternoon that the change in the sentence will be only a technicality.

When he sentenced Orie Melvin on Tuesday, he ordered her to serve three years of house arrest. What he meant to do, he said, is sentence her to three one-year terms of house arrest to run consecutively to one another.

In the end, the result is the same: three years of house arrest.

"There is absolutely no difference in those sentences," he said. "It is absolutely form over substance."

"My sentence has to pass muster with the appellate courts."

Nothing else with the sentence will change," Judge Nauhaus said.

Orie Melvin, who was convicted of six counts in February for using staffers to campaign for the Pennsylvania high court in 2003 and 2009, was also ordered by Judge Nauhaus to have her photograph taken in handcuffs.

She must write notes of apology to accompany the photo and send them to approximately 500 judges in Pennsylvania, he said, because she tarnished the reputation of the judiciary.

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


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