PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The house arrest sentence for former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin has been dropped, but could mean she’ll see jail time.
Orie Melvin left the hearing knowing that the electronic monitoring set up at her home has been ordered dismantled, and so has her ankle bracelet.
She no longer has to work at a soup kitchen and can come and go as she pleases.
Since the appeal of the order that required her to send a picture in handcuffs with a letter of apology to other judges raises issues about just how much of her sentence is valid, Judge Lester Nauhaus put her whole sentence on hold.
He says if his entire sentence isn’t being complied with, she shouldn’t get credit for time served until all matters are settled.
Why is the defense concerned? And why did they object?
“Once the judge’s sentence is materially affected – let’s say by an appellate decision – that does put it back into whether or not the sentencing scheme has been disrupted,” said prosecutor Lawrence Claus. “And in a situation like that, there is sufficient case law to indicate that the court can go back to the full panoply of sentencing mandates, which include jail.”
Meantime, her sister, Janine Orie, was not exempted from the apology ruling and her lawyer says this is all very confusing to her.
“She’s frustrated but she’s frustrated only because a lot of this is something that she doesn’t understand,” said James DePasquale, Janine Orie’s attorney.
Meanwhile, it could be weeks before an appeals court settles all the issues surrounding this case. So, Orie Melvin is a free woman for now.