Opinion

Prison appropriate for ex-Bridgeport mayor

An editorial from The Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — What is the fair amount of prison time for an honest citizen and servant of the people who has gone bad in recent years?

That’s the dilemma that faced U.S. District Judge Irene M. Keeley in Clarksburg during the man’s sentencing hearing in federal court in Clarksburg last week.

You are probably familiar with the case. Bridgeport Mayor Mario Blount was forced to resign his elected office for his role in a scheme to illegally distribute prescription painkillers.

Blount made it easy for the federal government that broke up his scheme back in September by pleading guilty. He was the pharmacist at the Best Care Pharmacy in Bridgeport when his criminal activity occurred.

Blount pleaded guilty to participating in an oxycodone/oxymorphone conspiracy; making a false or fraudulent materal omission; and distribution of oxymorphone.

The judge waived any fine that might have been imposed in the case because Blount could not have paid it. He declared bankruptcy. Blount’s attorney admitted being stumped at the crimes Blount committed. He admitted that Blount had already lost his job and his home since being indicted on felony drug charges.

Blount’s case was one that certainly shocked the Bridgeport and Clarksburg community. People with the outstanding record he had just don’t turn to criminal activity overnight. Or do they?

Apparently they do. And the only disagreement that may emerge is this question: Did Blount receive a strong enough sentence…

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