Pennsylvania Judge Appealing Paper’s Victory in Sentencing Letters Case

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An Allegheny County judge has appealed a decision last week by the state Superior Court that gave the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the right to see letters submitted to the judge on behalf of a city official convicted of selling cocaine out of his office.

The letters from family members and government officials were written on behalf of former city controller’s supervisor Gilbert Martinez, who is serving a five- to 10-year prison sentence after a 2003 guilty plea.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel had refused a request by the newspaper to see the letters. One of the judge’s law clerks is working on the appeal.

The court agreed with the newspaper that the letters should be publicized because McDaniel relied on them in determining Martinez’s sentence.

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