Norman appeal to be heard next week

Published 3:02 pm Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Minnesota Court of Appeals judges will consider the case of former Albert Lea City Manager Jim Norman next week.

Jim Norman

They must issue a decision on the appeal within 90 days.

According to online court records, the case will be considered Thursday under what is called a nonoral conference, during which the judges will review arguments from both sides, along with the transcripts from Norman’s criminal trial, before making a decision.

Email newsletter signup

The judges scheduled to be present are appellate judges Heidi Schellhas,  Michelle Larkin and Wilhelmina Wright.

Norman and his lawyer, along with the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the case for the state, will not be able to attend the conference or make oral arguments.

Norman was found guilty last year of misusing the city-issued credit card for personal purchases, specifically charging more than $2,000 during his first few months as city manager in 2010.

Specifically, he was found guilty of permitting false claims against government by a public officer, theft with the intent to exercise temporary control and misconduct by a public officer. The conviction left him with six felonies and one gross misdemeanor on his record.

In a brief filed in March laying out the basis of the appeal, Norman’s public defender argued that her client’s criminal trial jeopardized his right to a fair trial.

She alleged Waseca County prosecutor Brenda Miller made arguments during her closing statements that improperly distracted the jury.

“The arguments were impermissibly calculated to stir the jury’s emotions and, in particular, to stir their emotions as citizens and taxpayers in a prosecution against a former city official,” the document stated.

The brief asked that Norman’s convictions be reversed and a new trial ordered.