Prosecutor will seek more jail time for Mir
June 29, 2013 11:00 AM
by CHAUNCEY ROSS

A state prosecutor said he would seek additional prison time for Tahir Mir, of White Township, a former physician convicted Thursday of narcotics law violations at a medical clinic he operated along South Fifth Street in Indiana.

Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge said Friday he would ask Judge William Martin, of Indiana County Common Pleas Court, to consider ordering enhanced sentences for Mir because the crimes, trading prescriptions for sex from two of his patients, occurred within 1,000 feet of a school.

Mir’s former Indiana Walk-In Clinic, which has since been torn down to make room for a new restaurant, was about two blocks from Horace Mann Elementary School. Pennsylvania criminal sentencing rules allow defendants to be given up to two years of prison time for drug offenses within school zones.

Mir, 62, is scheduled to appear Sept. 13 for sentencing, and could be ordered to serve 28 years in prison for his convictions on four felony counts.

Serge said each charge carries a mandatory minimum term of five years but that Martin has discretion to impose the terms consecutively or concurrently, with or without the requested school zone enhancement.

In a report Friday in the Gazette, the number of charges for which Mir was convicted was incorrect.

A jury found Mir guilty of four violations of the Controlled Substances Drugs Devices and Cosmetics Act, including two counts each of writing unlawful prescriptions to the women who accepted them in exchange for sex with him, and two counts of conspiracy to writing unlawful prescriptions.

From December 2008 to October 2011, he had inappropriately prescribed oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam and phenteramine to Jennifer Lawson, according to the charges.

Mir also was accused of unnecessarily prescribing cxycodone and diazepam to Brandi Benton between January 2010 and October 2011.

The panel found Mir not guilty of one count of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor. Mir had been accused of struggling with agents who arrested him Oct. 11, 2011, in an apartment on an upper floor of the building that housed the medical clinic.

Mir originally faced nine charges including eight felonies. Serge said that before the case went to trial, he withdrew four charges alleging violations of Medicaid regulations under the state welfare code.

Mir first was scheduled for a trial in October but pleaded guilty to five felony charges on the day jury selection was to begin. But he changed his mind and asked to withdraw the plea in February, just days before he was to be sentenced. Martin ruled that Mir was entitled to assert his innocence and let a jury decide his fate.

The trial began Monday with jury selection. Prosecution witnesses including Benton and Lawson testified beginning Tuesday, and the case was presented to the jury on Thursday after testimony from Mir and two character witnesses in his defense.

Serge said that Mir testified of issuing prescriptions to the women in connection with their examinations and treatment as his patients, and characterizing their off-hours sexual relationships as “affairs” unconnected with their doctor-patient relationships.

Lawson and Benton, who cooperated with investigators and were said to have conspired with Mir to obtain unlawful prescriptions, have not been charged in the case.

“They weren’t promised anything and our office has no charges against them,” Serge said. “We did charge him with conspiring with them, but our position is the more culpable person is the doctor. He should have known better and these gals were suffering from addiction. That doesn’t excuse them, but it explains the difference. The more culpable person was charged and convicted.”

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