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Hertford councilor jailed for violating probation

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Frank Norman

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Saturday, August 18, 2018

HERTFORD — A Hertford town councilman found guilty on Thursday of violating the terms of his probation will have to spend seven days in jail.

Councilor Frank Norman will get a short reprieve on Monday, however, when he will be allowed to attend a Hertford Town Council meeting. 

Superior Court Judge Jerry R. Tillett sentenced Norman on Thursday to seven days in jail after finding him guilty of failing to complete 25 hours of court-ordered community service and pay $722 in probationer fees. Norman was taken directly from the courtroom to start serving the sentence.

Just before departing the courtroom, however, Norman asked for permission to attend Monday’s Hertford Town Council meeting, telling Tillett the town board is shorthanded, and the judge agreed to his request. Tillett said Norman could be released to attend the meeting but would have to return to jail on Monday night to complete his seven-day sentence.

Norman’s problems with the law started in fall 2016.

Norman said he was inside his apartment at Wynne Fork Court one night when an N.C. Highway patrolman pulled over a vehicle in the housing development. Norman said he left his apartment to see what was going on and when he approached a curb, the trooper asked him to step back. When Norman apparently did not comply with the trooper’s request, he was arrested and charged with resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer.

In September 2017, Norman was convicted in District Court of failure to appear in court on the resist, obstruct and delay charge. Norman said at the time he did not show up for his court hearing because he got the date mixed up. Nonethless, he spent three days in jail.

Norman appealed his conviction to Superior Court. In May, Superior Court Judge Wayland J. Sermons Jr. found Norman guilty of the same charge. Sermons sentenced Norman to serve six months of supervised probation and ordered him to perform 25 hours of community service.

On Thursday, Norman, 61, was back in court charged with violating the terms of his probation. Norman said that he had tried to reach out to probation officials about completing the terms of his probation but had had problems getting answers. However, a community service coordinator indicated Norman had not made time to perform his 25 hours of community service or paid the $722 probation fee.

Penny Baker, the community service coordinator, testified she tried to arrange for Norman to perform his community service with the town of Edenton’s Parks Department since Norman works at Jimbo Jumbos in Edenton. She said Norman was told to report to the park at 8 a.m. when the shift for park workers starts, but Norman claimed that would not allow him any sleep because he does not get off work until 5 a.m. 

Baker said Norman instead was assigned to work at a sanitation substation where residents drop off their solid waste. During his shift, however, Norman answered a phone call. Baker said that violated the landfill’s policy prohibiting community service workers from answering or making phone calls while on duty.

Norman claims the call was from Hertford Mayor Horace Reid and only lasted about 90 seconds. He also claimed he provided great service to the substation during his three hours of work there.

“I served the dump extremely well,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Holley Metzer argued that Norman had time to complete his hours of community service and pay his probationer’s fee but had done neither.

Tillett said he could have sentenced Norman to a longer term, but instead chose to sentence the councilman to the seven days he did not serve from a previous sentence.

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