Sen Jim Norman faces ethics charges at a scheduled hearing on Feb 3, 2012

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The good news is that the Florida Ethics Commission has a simpler task in many respects. They only have to prove that it was “probable” that Norman violated state ethics laws by accepting the money and not reporting it.

The handling of ethics charges are confidential to all but the accused and the complainants. Once the Ethics Commission makes their decision at the Probable Cause hearing next month, press releases will be issued to notify everyone of the outcome. A great deal will depend on what the Ethics Commission prosecutor decides. At this point we don’t know what the prosecutor will attempt to do — go for a conviction, or urge the commission to dismiss the charges (ethics prosecutors also factor-in the odds of conviction when deciding what to plead). Let’s just hope that Lady Justice doesn’t take a vacation day on February 3, 2012.

Note: George Niemann is one of the complainants in the ethics charges against Senator Jim Norman by the Florida Commission on Ethics. This blog post is not to be considered an official news report and it should be understood that Mr. Niemann is not a reporter working for any news agency.

George Niemann is a Daily Loaf contributor, R-LAND, UCAN and FSP activist.
The views expressed are my own and not necessarily the same as the organizations to which I belong.

State Senator Jim Norman will have to face the Ethics Commission at a Probable Cause Hearing in Tallahassee on February 3, 2012. Numerous ethics complaints were filed by citizens following the discovery that Norman’s wife purchased a vacation home in Arkansas using money given to her by the late Ralph Hughes, a politically connected business owner tied to land development in Hillsborough County.

Previously the Feds looked carefully at the details of the $500,000 that changed hands in 2006 for possible criminal violations. In November of 2011, the feds decided not to indict Norman. As is often the case, prosecutors factor in their chances of winning a conviction when making a decision to charge criminally. Hughes’ son claimed that the money his father gave Norman’s wife, Mearline, was a loan. Hmmmm…a loan made six years ago with no arrangements for paying it back??? Oops, I think I just saw a pig fly by!!! The fact that there were no friendly witnesses probably factored heavily into US Attorney O’Neill’s decision not to indict.

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