New Castle News

Local News

May 2, 2014

Hearing for ex-justice to be held in county

NEW CASTLE — A former Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice will have a hearing on her criminal conviction in Lawrence County later this month.

Joan Orie Melvin, who was convicted of campaign corruption last year and sentenced to three years probation, a $55,000 fine and community service, is appealing the case to Pennsylvania Superior Court. And the court has decided to hear that appeal during a special session at the Lawrence County courthouse May 20.

The court is scheduled to hear cases in the county on May 20 and 21.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Court President Judge Dominick Motto said that the Superior Court typically conducts its sessions in bigger cities, such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, but every so often it convenes at county courthouses.

Melvin’s attorneys are scheduled to argue the appeal of her conviction before a three-judge Superior Court panel. They also have asked to argue on that same day their appeal of the trial judge’s stay of Melvin’s sentence.

Along with her sentence, Melvin was also ordered to send an apology to every judge in the state — written on copies of a picture Allegheny County Judge Lester Nauhaus ordered taken of Melvin in handcuffs minutes after he imposed the sentence.

Melvin’s attorneys particularly object to the autographed apology pictures as part of the sentence and say that ordering Melvin to apologize while her overall case is on appeal violates her right against self-incrimination. But prosecutors say that argument is irrelevant because Melvin apologized for her conduct when she was sentenced.

Nauhaus stayed the sentence he designed to address her “stunning arrogance” because he felt she should serve all or none of the punishment pending her conviction appeal. But with the sentence stayed, Melvin isn’t currently receiving credit for time served on probation.

“Consolidation will serve the interests of efficiency and economy since the appeals raise common questions of law and fact concerning the validity of the criminal sentence imposed on Orie Melvin,” her attorneys wrote.

Melvin, 58, was a Superior Court judge when she twice ran for the state Supreme Court. She lost in 2003 then won a seat in 2009. Weeks afterward, Allegheny County prosecutors began an investigation that eventually led to charges that Melvin was illegally using her Superior Court staff to run her campaigns on state-paid time and was conspiring with her sister, former state Sen. Jane Orie, to have the senator’s state-paid staffers also help Melvin’s campaigns.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • PortersvilleSS.jpg Portersville Steam Show summer event arrives

    The Portersville Steam Show will stage its summer event Thursday through Sunday at its show grounds.

     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veteran.jpg Veterans seminar to view technology

    A veterans benefits seminar has been set for Friday. The program will run from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners room of the Lawrence County courthouse.

     
     

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Part-time guard position created

    The Lawrence County Salary Board created a part-time temporary court guard position Tuesday.

     

    July 30, 2014

  • JaredGustafson.jpg Mohawk senior Jared Gustafson elected nation FCCLA officer

    A Mohawk High student was elected to national office at a leadership conference in Texas. Senior Jared Gustafson now is the 2014-2015 national vice president of parliamentary law for the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

     

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • PipeDreams.jpg Concert to feature sounds of ’60s

    This week’s Friday Night Live at Riverwalk Amphitheater will feature a 1960s theme. Entertainment will be provided by Pipe Dreams. The group performs a tribute to the British Invasion and American rock ’n roll with music from The Beatles, Stones, Doors, Monkees and hits from Motown and Philly.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • well.jpg Environmental groups oppose forced pooling

    An effort by local landowners to have forced pooling declared unconstitutional is getting some outside support. Two environmental groups — Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Mountain Watershed Association — have filed a friend of the court brief with Commonwealth Court. They are asking that the court review forced pooling, which is part of a 1961 Oil and Gas Conservation Law, before scheduled hearings take place.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • CashMob.jpg Cash Mob returns Saturday to downtown

    The New Visions Destination Downtown Action Team will host a cash mob Saturday in downtown New Castle.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • wampum_gazebo.jpg Wampum Homecoming draws near

    The 22nd annual Wampum Homecoming Weekend is scheduled for this weekend. It is sponsored by the Wampum Area Business Association.

     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg City imposing new regulations for vendors

    The city of New Castle is tightening regulations and imposing new ones for mobile food and transient vendors.

     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg New recreation fees adopted

    New Castle City Council has adopted a new fee schedule for Cascade and Darlington parks. The new schedule runs from 2014 through 2016.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo