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Melvin attorneys file papers citing reasons to grant a new trial

Calling the case “rife with reversible error,” attorneys for former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin on Friday filed a 49-page brief in state Superior Court detailing their argument why she should be granted a new trial on corruption charges.

The attorneys argue 15 points, including that Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus failed to suppress evidence and gave the jury bad instructions. They said the judge’s order requiring Melvin to write letters of apology is unconstitutional. They also claim there was not enough evidence to support her conviction.

“The Commonwealth failed to adduce proof sufficient to establish at least one element of each offense,” attorneys Dan Brier, Patrick Casey and Donna Walsh wrote.

Melvin, 57, of Marshall was convicted of using her Superior Court seat to campaign for the Supreme Court in 2003 and 2009.

Nauhaus sentenced her to three years of house arrest and two years of probation, to work at a soup kitchen three days a week and to write letters of apology to every judge in the state.

The Superior Court suspended the letter-writing portion of Melvin’s sentence, and Nauhaus suspended the rest of her sentence during the appeal.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.


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