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Delaware County mayor booted from office over felony conviction

Bruce Blunt is ineligible to serve, the district attorney said, due to a 30-year-old felony conviction stemming from a bar fight.

Bruce Morton, seen here in a photo distributed by his 2017 campaign for mayor, was removed from office Wednesday by a court order.
Bruce Morton, seen here in a photo distributed by his 2017 campaign for mayor, was removed from office Wednesday by a court order.Read moreFacebook

A 30-year-old felony conviction caught up to a Delaware County mayor on Wednesday, causing him to lose his seat.

Bruce Blunt, 54, a Democrat and the mayor of Morton, was ordered to be removed from office by Common Pleas Senior Judge Charles B. Burr II after a nearly yearlong court case, according to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office.

District Attorney Katayoun Copeland had filed for Blunt’s removal in February 2018 under quo warranto, a legal action that claims that under certain circumstances elected officials don’t have the right to hold office.

In Pennsylvania, people that have been convicted of “infamous crimes,” which can include felonies, are ineligible to be elected to, or hold, office. Blunt won the top seat in his hometown last January, beating incumbent Maureen Pisselli, 338-284, according to official county election totals.

“As a convicted felon, Mr. Blunt violated the law by assuming the position of Mayor, meanwhile wasting the valuable time of our voters and breaching their trust, compromising the electoral process,” Copeland said in a statement Wednesday. "He is unauthorized and therefore incapable of holding the position of Mayor, and therefore, must step down immediately.”

Blunt hung up on a reporter from the Inquirer and Daily News who sought a comment.

He was convicted of aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest, and related offenses in 1988, court records show. Those charges stem from an incident inside Houlihan’s Bar in Springfield, Delaware County, during which Blunt assaulted three officers dispatched there to break up a bar fight, according to the district attorney’s office. Blunt was sentenced to five to 23 months in prison for the incident.

Blunt argued with the officers at the scene, and resisted when they attempted to arrest him. He then “punched one of the officers in the face and assaulted the two other police officers, causing all three to require medical attention,” prosecutors said Wednesday.

Morton Borough Manager Robert J. Poole said he hadn’t heard of Blunt’s removal late Wednesday, and declined to comment on who would fill in as mayor in the interim.