Supreme Court won't block Orie Melvin's prosecution

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The state Supreme Court today denied a petition by suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin to use its Kings Bench power to review her case.

With no opinion attached, the court issued a two-sentence order denying the motion she filed Monday. Justice Max Baer did not participate in the matter.

Justice Orie Melvin, who is charged with theft of services, conspiracy and tampering with evidence stemming from campaigns she ran for the high court in 2003 and 2009, is scheduled to go on trial later this month.

She asked the remaining six justices on the court to take jurisdiction of the case and halt the prosecution. Her attorneys have argued that the court itself has jurisdiction to discipline its members for prohibited political activity and that prosecution in criminal court is unconstitutional.

The district attorney disagreed, as did Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus who, last month, rejected the same argument.

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


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