Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall Files for Impeachment of Clarke County Sheriff

Attorney General Steve Marshall has begun proceedings for the impeachment of Clarke County Sheriff William Ray Norris. The Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division filed an Information* of Impeachment and Prayer for Ouster in the Alabama Supreme Court on April 27 pursuant to Alabama Code § 36-11-4 through § 36-11-5. Norris was served notice of the impeachment filing Friday.

Sheriff Ray Norris

The Attorney General’s Office began investigating this matter in early 2020, resulting in the decision to seek Norris’ removal from office. Norris was charged with four instances of corruption in office and eleven instances of the commission of crimes involving moral turpitude. However, some of the specific allegations are alternate forms of charging the same conduct.

The specifications of corruption in office include:

  • Using his public office or official position to obtain personal gain for himself or a family member through the acceptance of thousands of dollars of payments from a business owned by an individual who received approximately $139,462 in payments from the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office between August 2018 and August 2019
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) For soliciting thousands of dollars of payments from an individual who was subject to supervision and inspection by the Clarke County Sheriff under state law and by contract
  • Using his public office or official position to obtain personal gain for himself or a family member through the acceptance of thousands of dollars of loan payments from an individual whose business provided food to the Clarke County jail as a subcontractor
  • Using his public office or official position to obtain personal gain for himself through the acceptance of money and insurance benefits to facilitate a heavy-equipment lease contract, where the money and insurance benefits were provided by the owner of a business who received approximately $139,462.00 in payments from the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office between August 2018 and August 2019.

The specifications of the commission of crimes involving moral turpitude include:

  • Filing a false 2019 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his business activities and business associations
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) Perjury in the second degree for filing a falsely sworn 2019 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his business activities and business associations, where the false swearing was with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of their duties
  • Filing a false 2019 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his household’s sources of income and other compensation
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) Perjury in the second degree for filing a falsely sworn 2019 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his household’s sources of income and other compensation, where the false swearing was with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of their duties
  • Perjury in the second degree for filing a falsely sworn 2019 annual report under the Fair Campaign Practices Act omitting approximately $12,700 in contributions from sixteen different sources as well as numerous expenditures, where the false swearing was with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of their duties
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) Filing a false 2019 annual report under the Fair Campaign Practices Act omitting approximately $12,700 in contributions from sixteen different sources as well as numerous expenditures
  • Filing a false 2018 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his ownership of real estate for investment or revenue production purposes and that concealed his actual indebtedness to banks operating in Alabama
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) Filing a falsely sworn 2018 Statement of Economic Interests form that omitted his ownership of real estate for investment or revenue production purposes and that concealed his actual indebtedness to banks operating in Alabama, where the false swearing was with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of their duties
  • Filing a falsely sworn 2018 annual report under the Fair Campaign Practices Act omitting numerous post-election expenditures, including an expenditure to a family member, where the false swearing was with the intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of their duties
  • (Alternate pleading of the previous specification) Filing a false 2018 annual report under the Fair Campaign Practices Act, omitting numerous post-election expenditures, including an expenditure to a family member, and,
  • Willfully failing to file a tax return for the year 2019.

No additional information about the charges or the evidence against Norris may be released at this time, other than what is contained in the information document.

Under the Alabama Constitution, the Alabama Supreme Court will consider the charges against Norris. By statute, both the State and Norris may present evidence and compel witnesses to testify before the Court at trial. The Court has ordered Norris to appear before the Court and answer the charges at 2 p.m. on June 2.

Under state law, Norris may remain in office until the impeachment trial. If found guilty of the allegations, he will be removed from office. Any possible criminal proceedings must be brought separately.

*Any information is merely an accusation. The sheriff is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty, at which time he would be removed from office.

You may access a copy of the information document here.

Categories: Crime, News