Attorneys representing suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin asked Wednesday that her trial not be combined with one for her sister, Janine Orie, who is also charged with using the justice's staff as well as the legislative staff of another sister, to campaign for the high court.
In a memorandum filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, attorney Patrick Casey wrote that the charges against Justice Orie Melvin and Janine Orie are "fundamentally dissimilar" and that "these inconsistent allegations give rise to antagonistic defenses and therefore require separate trials."
As an example, Mr. Casey wrote that Janine Orie is not charged with conspiring with Justice Orie Melvin but rather with their sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie and her chief of staff, Jamie Pavlot. He wrote that Justice Orie Melvin is not charged with conspiring with Ms. Pavlot and therefore "two different conspiracies are charged."
Justice Orie Melvin was held for trial on seven criminal counts after a preliminary hearing last week. The case against Janine Orie initially was brought in 2010, and additional charges were added late last year.
Janine Orie went to trial once before in a joint case with Jane Orie in 2011. That case ended in a mistrial. Jane Orie was retried earlier this year and was convicted; Janine Orie's case was severed by the court judge.
Janine Orie's trial is set for Monday, but prosecutors have asked for a postponement.