Judge defends Melvin sentence, cuffed photograph

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A judge is defending his decision to sentence former state Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin to house arrest and requiring her to send an apology to the state’s other judges that includes a picture of her in handcuffs.

Allegheny County Judge Lester Nauhaus tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the photo apology requirement was imposed because Melvin’s campaign corruption conviction was a “taint on the judiciary.”

But legal experts are telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the apology portion of the sentence may be unenforceable because Melvin still retains her right against self-incrimination during likely appeals. An apology would require her to acknowledge the crimes, which the experts say would violate that right.

Melvin and her attorneys haven’t commented on the sentence, although they have said they expect to appeal.

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