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Critic of Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin says discipline panel pre-judged her charges

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 31, 2012 4:58 PM

(Pittsburg) -- A Pittsburgh law professor who has called on Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin to resign in the wake of campaign corruption charges agrees that the state Court of Judicial discipline is right to suspend her without pay.

But Duquesne professor Bruce Ledewitz says the court nonetheless overstepped its role by delving into the criminal evidence against Melvin and rejecting her attorneys' claims that the case against her is "weak."

Ledewitz says the court has, essentially, "pre-judged" the case, which he says is unfair to Melvin.

He says the court should simply have denied Melvin her $195,000 salary because the charges she faces are egregious and undermine the public's confidence in the courts.

The 56-year-old justice from the Pittsburgh suburb of Wexford is charged with using her former Superior Court staff to do political campaign work.

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