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Hertford council hopeful arrested

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By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

HERTFORD — A can­di­date for Hert­ford Town Coun­cil was ar­rested last week and jailed for fail­ing to ap­pear in court to face a charge of resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer.

Frank Nor­man, 60, spent three nights in Albe­marle District Jail be­cause his secured bond was set at $3,000.

Nor­man, who is run­ning for an open seat on Hert­ford Town Coun­cil, said he believes the $3,000 bond was ex­ces­sive. He said his at­tor­ney, John­nie Finch, tried to get it re­duced be­cause Nor­man was not a flight risk. How­ever, Su­pe­rior Court Judge J.C. Cole de­clined to re­duce it.

Nor­man said in an in­ter­view Monday that fail­ing to ap­pear in court was his fault. But he said he thought his court date was Sept. 19, not Sept. 18.

“I got my days mixed up when I en­tered it (the court date) into my phone,” he said.

 

Norman was required to appear in court because he was arrested outside his home in Wynne Fork Courts last year by a highway patrolman and charged with resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer.

Recalling what happened, Norman said he observed law enforcement officers performing routine traffic stops along Wynne Fork Road one night last fall. He said they pulled over one car at the Wynne Fork housing development because they claimed they could smell marijuana in the vehicle. The vehicle was stopped just outside Norman’s house, he said.

Norman said at one point four or five law enforcement vehicles were there and he was standing on the curb outside of his house watching what was going on. At one point he said 30 to 50 people also were there watching the traffic stops.

Norman said a trooper, whose name he doesn’t remember, told him to step back. Norman said he was at least 20 or 25 feet away from what was going on, but he complied and stepped back. He said he was then told to step back even farther.

“He (the trooper) singled me out,” Norman said, adding that the trooper said Norman’s proximity to the scene made him uncomfortable.

Norman, who is active with the Perquimans Chapter of the NAACP, said he tried to comply with the trooper’s wishes but was ultimately arrested because he wouldn’t go back to his apartment.

“I stuck my hands out and was cuffed,” he said.

Norman said the trooper searched his pockets and removed items that were ultimately returned, including Norman’s phone.

Norman was found guilty of resisting, obstructing and delaying an officer earlier this year by District Court Judge Eula Reid but he appealed the conviction to Superior Court. Norman said a court date was set for his appeal. However, his attorney wasn’t able to make it to court that day so the date was rescheduled to Sept. 18. 

When he failed to appear in court last week, Norman said he went to the Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office and turned himself in. Norman praised what he called deputies’ professional attitude as they arrested him on the failure-to-appear-in-court charge.

“I have no qualms with what they did. They handled the situation in a very professional manner,” he said.

Norman said he was transferred to Albemarle District Jail about 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19. He wasn’t released until about 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.

Norman pointed out the court appearance this month wouldn’t have been necessary if he had not appealed the original district court ruling.

“If I hadn’t chosen to appeal, it would just have been probation,” he said.

Norman said he’s unsure about the status of his appeal, or when his next court date is scheduled.

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