Newly-appointed Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun “Kat” Copeland said she filed a complaint seeking to remove Morton Borough Mayor Bruce Edward Blunt from the office he won in last November’s election based on his 1988 arrest and conviction of aggravated assault and related offenses as a result of an incident that occurred in Springfield Township.
The legal term for the complaint is a “Quo Warranto,” which is a judicial writ requiring an individual to show by what right he undertakes to exercise the authority of a particular office or position.
A news release issued late last week by Copeland’s office said, “By law the local district attorney is charged with the responsibility of instituting an action challenging an individual’s eligibility for local government office.”
It further quotes a section of the Pennsylvania Constitution that any felony offense qualifies as an “infamous crime,” which prohibits a person convicted of such an offense from holding public office.
The release notes that Blunt’s conviction for aggravated assault is graded a second degree felony, (and) he is precluded by the Constitution from holding any elected office. The prohibition against those convicted of an infamous crime applies regardless of whether the conduct occurred while in office or not.
Former Morton Mayor Maureen Piselli, a Republican who lost her bid for a third term to Blunt, said she brought up the subject of Blunt’s conviction to Morton Council President Mario Cimino on the night of the Nov. 2017 election.
“I told him that he (Blunt) could not be mayor,” Piselli recalled.
The former mayor said she received information a week and a half before the election that Blunt had been convicted of a crime, but she kept the information to herself.
“I know his family well and I didn’t want people to think I brought this out because I wanted to win,” she explained. “I just hoped it would go away. Somebody had to know and no one spoke up. That election (Blunt’s) was a fraud. I told the Democrats he could not hold office. It is what it is.”
Cimino said the borough has no role in the legal proceedings at this time and it is Blunt’s right to defend himself under the United States’ democratic system. He said he is confident the matter will be handled with due diligence by the district attorney’s office and the Court of Common Pleas.
“A challenge of the will of the people is very serious in our democracy,” Cimino said.
Blunt could not be reached for comment.