Superior court judge nominated to vacant seat on Pa. SC

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Jun 14, 2013

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Legal Newsline) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has selected state Superior Court President Judge Correale Stevens to temporarily fill former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's seat on the bench.

Corbett made the announcement late Thursday, in addition to nominating Tim Holden to the Liquor Control Board, Sean Logan to the Turnpike Commission and Gladys M. Brown to the Public Utility Commission.

"These four individuals reflect the qualities and qualifications that transcend political labels and uniquely suit each one for the positions of public trust for which they have been selected," Corbett said in a statement.

Nominations for the Supreme Court, Liquor Control Board and Turnpike Commission require a two-thirds vote in the state Senate. The Public Utility Commission requires a majority vote by the Senate.

Corbett said he will submit all four nominations to the Senate Friday.

Stevens, of Sugarloaf, Luzerne County, has served as president judge of the Superior Court since 2011. He has been a member of the court since 1998.

A graduate of Penn State University and the Dickinson School of Law, he also served as a judge of Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas and district attorney of Luzerne County, as well as serving four terms as a member of the House of Representatives and solicitor for Hazleton City and Hazleton Authority.

Stevens teaches criminal justice and government courses at Penn State-Hazleton, as well as continuing legal education for state and local bar associations.

He has received numerous civic awards and was honored by the Dickinson Law School Alumni Association for his service in the judiciary.

The Supreme Court seat became vacant with Melvin's resignation, submitted to Corbett in March. It was effective May 1.

In February, Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie, were found guilty of corruption for using the justice's office staff to perform campaign work in 2003 and 2009.

Melvin and Orie also were found guilty of theft of services, conspiracy and misapplication of government funds. In addition, Orie was convicted of tampering with evidence and solicitation.

One count -- official oppression -- against Melvin could not be decided by the jury. Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Lester Nauhaus declared the jurors hung on that count.

Melvin's other sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, was convicted on similar public corruption charges last year and subsequently sentenced to 2 and 1/2 to 10 years in state prison.

Nauhaus sentenced Melvin to three years house arrest last month.

Stevens, if confirmed, will serve until January 2016, with the election to fill the vacancy permanently taking place in November 2015.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

More News

The Record Network