Pa. Supreme Court rejects Orie Melvin's petition
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The state Supreme Court on Thursday denied a petition by suspended Justice Joan Orie Melvin to use its King's 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 rejected the same argument last month.
In its reply filed with the Supreme Court Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Michael W. Streily wrote that it was not prosecuting Justice Orie Melvin for pure political activity.
Instead, he said that her actions misappropriated resources of the commonwealth for personal gain.
-- Paula Reed Ward
First Published January 11, 2013 12:00 am