New delay in Norman case

Published 9:45 am Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The contested hearing scheduled Wednesday for former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman is seeing a new delay after the judge assigned to the case has recused himself because of a potential conflict.

During a Freeborn County District Court hearing Wednesday morning, retired Judge Daniel Kammeyer — a former judge in Anoka County — said he had to step away from the case because of a conflict of interest with Norman’s ex-wife, who is a prosecuting attorney in Anoka County.

Jim Norman

Kammeyer is filling in after the retirement of Freeborn County District Court Judge John A. Chesterman in January.

Email newsletter signup

Norman’s hearing has been rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in front of Mower County District Court Judge Fred Wellmann. A Freeborn County District Court administrator said court officials are hoping to have the same judge for Norman’s jury trial as well, though this has not been finalized.

The timing of the contested hearing is critical for Norman as he entered a Sixth Amendment speedy demand during his last appearance in January to have his contested hearing within 28 days.

That deadline is Friday.

Norman, 57, faces charges of misusing the city-issued credit card for personal purchases.

During court Wednesday, there was discussion about when that hearing should be, after a court clerk suggested the date of Feb. 25 for the new hearing.

Norman’s lawyer, Peggy Rockow, said she and her client are frustrated with the delays that have been coming with the case.

She pointed out that just three days before Norman was expected to go to trial in January, prosecuting attorney Brenda Miller of the Waseca County Attorney’s Office filed an amended criminal complaint against Norman, which added five additional felony counts to the charges he already faced.

Miller, who is handling the case for Freeborn County, said she had several potential conflicts in scheduling a new hearing during the next two weeks because of court trials that started next Wednesday and a vacation the following week.

Rockow argued against scheduling the hearing for later in February.

“Once again his life is on hold for another month,” Rockow said.

She said Norman can’t apply for new jobs until the case is resolved.

“He’s basically in limbo right now,” she added.

Norman started full time as city manager in Albert Lea on May 3, but was placed on administrative leave Aug. 27 after the initial charges were filed.

He resigned as city manager in September as part of a separation agreement between him and the City Council, which resulted from the pending litigations.

Look to the Albert Lea Tribune online and in print for more as this story develops.