PITTSBURGH (Legal Newsline) – A Pennsylvania judge has set a trial start date in the case of suspended state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin.
Court records show that Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Lester Nauhaus, who has taken over the case from Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, set Jan. 23 at the first day in the corruption trial of Orie Melvin, who stands accused of using her former Superior Court staff to work on her campaign for a seat on the high court, to which she was subsequently elected.
Orie Melvin, 56, was charged this spring with various counts of public corruption.
She has since been suspended from the high court without pay.
The criminal docket sheet in the case shows that Orie Melvin has been charged with seven criminal counts, which include diversion of services, conspiracy, and official oppression.
Two counts of official oppression and criminal solicitation were dismissed by a magisterial district judge during Orie Melvin’s preliminary arraignment.
Orie Melvin’s sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, was convicted on similar public corruption charges earlier this year and subsequently sentenced to 2 and ½ to 10 years in state prison.
Another sister, Janine Orie, who worked with Orie Melvin as an administrative assistant, is being charged alongside the justice in the current case.
The case is being prosecuted by Allegheny County Assistant District Attorney Lawrence Neff Claus.
Orie Melvin is being represented by attorney Patrick Aloysius Casey, of the Scranton, Pa. firm Myers Brier & Kelly, according to the docket sheet.