Orie Melvin's attorney outlines appeal plan

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An attorney for former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin on Wednesday filed a statement of appeal with the Superior Court outlining the issues she plans to challenge following her conviction on charges she used state resources to run her campaigns for the high court.

Orie Melvin was found guilty on six of seven counts against her in February, and last month Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester Nauhaus sentenced her to three years house arrest.

Among the issues raised by defense attorney Patrick Casey are: whether the trial court committed an error in failing to bring an out-of-county judge in to preside over the case; whether there was an error in failing to sever the charges from that of her sister and judicial secretary, Janine Orie; whether it was an error in denying Orie Melvin's request to inspect the original electronic evidence seized from the Superior and Supreme courts, as well as the legislative office of another sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie; whether it was an error, based on the statute of limitations, to fail to dismiss charges that allegedly occurred before 2007; and whether it was an error to fail to allow Orie Melvin to present evidence at trial showing her judicial productivity compared to her fellow judges.

In all, Mr. Casey included 20 possible errors in his filing, including another claim challenging a part of Judge Nauhaus' sentence in which he required Orie Melvin to have her photograph taken in handcuffs. She must then write an apology on the picture and send a copy to every judge in the state.

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