A.G. Files Complaint To Remove Fayette County Sheriff - January 22, 2003

 (MONTGOMERY) - Attorney General Bill Pryor filed a complaint seeking a Writ of Quo Warranto in the Circuit Court of Fayette County yesterday, to remove Hubert Norris from the office of Sheriff of Fayette County. This quo warranto action is brought under section 6-6-591 of the Code of Alabama (1975), which permits the State of Alabama to bring an action against a person who unlawfully holds or exercises a public office.

The complaint alleges that Norris unlawfully holds the office of Sheriff of Fayette County because he previously resigned this same office as part of a conviction to felony charges of racketeering/bribery and tax evasion in 1989. After serving time in federal prison, Norris ultimately received a pardon with restoration of his civil and political rights from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Pryor contends, however, that Alabama law does not permit persons convicted of a felony while holding an office to hold that office even after being pardoned. Although Norris has been reelected to the office of Sheriff of Fayette County, he unlawfully holds this office.

"The Sheriff of Fayette County is responsible for upholding and enforcing the law," Pryor said. "There should be no question of the validity of his holding that office. The Supreme Court, interpreting a statute passed by the legislature, held that those who hold public office should not be allowed to enjoy the benefits of the office they have previously abused. For this reason, I felt it necessary to bring this action at this time."