PITTSBURGH — A judge on Friday suspended former Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin's entire sentence on a corruption conviction while a part of it is reviewed by an appeals court.
Allegheny County Judge Lester Nauhaus said he's angry because Melvin's attorneys sought to delay only part of her sentence — that she send autographed pictures of herself in handcuffs to other judges. The sentence also includes three years of house arrest and a $55,000 fine.
Nauhaus said Melvin must either serve her entire sentence or none of it during the appeal.
But in heated exchanges with Nauhaus, Melvin attorney Patrick Casey objected to the ruling, since she will no longer get credit for time served while the appeal is underway. In other words, Melvin's penalty could ultimately stretch out over a longer time.
Melvin, 57, was sentenced in May on campaign-related corruption charges.
Casey argued that Nauhaus lacked the authority to change her sentence because of the unresolved appeal, which says Melvin should not be required to incriminate herself by writing the apology letters.
Nauhaus said Melvin's attempt to serve only part of the sentence he imposed wasn't right.
"She's not serving my sentence," he said angrily, local media reported.
Nauhaus said he expected Melvin's defense to appeal Friday's decision.