Judge quashes several subpoenas in Joan Orie Melvin case
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An Allegheny County judge today found in favor of a number of court administrators who had sought to have subpoenas issued by suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin quashed.
Justice Melvin requested the records from the Superior and Supreme courts for her preliminary hearing on nine counts that she misused her court staff to run election campaigns for the high court. It is scheduled for Monday.
Judge Jeffrey A. Manning wrote in his nine-page opinion that much of the evidence being sought would be used to impeach witnesses' credibility, which isn't relevant in a preliminary hearing.
"It is clear from the broad and reaching scope of the request for production for documents attached to the subpoenas issued to Justice [Max] Baer and the administrative employees that the defendant is seeking impeachment evidence," he wrote. "The subpoenas represent the proverbial 'fishing expedition' where the defendant hopes to locate, in this large volume of material, some evidence that might be helpful in presenting a defense to the charges."
Judge Manning also quashed a subpoena to Judge Kevin Sasinoski, whose wife was Justice Melvin's chief law clerk on the Superior Court and who is a key witness against her. Lisa Sasinoski later went on to work for Justice Baer, who defeated Justice Melvin for the Supreme Court in 2003.
As part of his opinion, Judge Manning also refused to recuse himself from the matter.
"The defendant has pointed to no facts that would suggest that this court is not capable of addressing the matter pending before it in a manner consistent with the dictates of the Canons of Judicial Conduct," he wrote.
First Published July 25, 2012 2:40 pm