RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Former Richmond detective Jason Norton was hired as a recruit back in 2004 and was involved in about 300 investigations, around 100 of them leading to convictions.
“Now we’re going to have to run them all down,” said Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Mike Herring.
Herring says his office now has to investigate the convictions Norton was connected to after a federal investigation found information Norton provided in order to get search warrants most likely wasn’t true. A federal judge released three admitted drug dealers last month, issuing an opinion in one of the cases saying in part,
“The government concedes that there is a high probability that critical information contained in the search warrant affidavit is false.”
It’s a case where drugs, money, and weapons were found at the defendant’s house, but because the court found that the search warrant was issued illegally.
“Then whatever is recovered as a result of the illegality would be thrown out and that could affect the convictions or it could affect sentences that were enhanced because of Norton convictions,” said Herring.
Herring says he doesn’t believe any of those convicted were framed or were innocent, but says it’s more important that the convictions were done the right way, in order to protect everyone’s constitutional rights.
“It’s probably more important to do things the right way than it is even to get people who are doing the wrong thing.”
Norton left Richmond police in 2013. He now works as a part-time sheriff’s deputy in Hopewell. The sheriff says they conducted a background check and Norton that he had glowing reviews as an officer in Richmond. Richmond’s police chief was not chief during Norton’s time there, but did give us this information on Norton’s background.
- Jason Norton began his career with the Richmond Police Department on 4/5/04.
- Norton started out in patrol and then worked with the Focus Mission Team and moved on into the Narcotics and Gang unit where he continued to be a very resourceful and effective officer with regards to securing arrests and removing drugs and guns from the streets.
- The Department did receive various typical types of complaints against former officer Norton during his tenure and those complaints were investigated and handled in accordance with department policy.
- Norton separated from the Richmond Police Department on 7/1/13.
- The Department is providing full cooperation with Mike Herring’s office while simultaneously conducting our own internal investigation.
- Likewise, the Department also cooperated fully with the earlier investigation that lead a federal Judge to vacate the sentences for three (3) federal cases where Norton was the responsible party for securing the search warrant and arrest.
The Chief sent us this statement:
“Although, I was not the Chief of Police during the time period involving the Norton cases now in question, and Norton had already separated from the Department prior to my becoming Chief, I still took this as an opportunity to review internal policies and protocols pertaining to accountability within my Department and the unit that Norton directly worked for. Accordingly, measures have been put in place and additional measures are being implemented to ensure that our Police Department operates at the highest levels of accountability. This investigation is ongoing, and depending on the results, other measures may need to be taken as well, and I am prepared to do what needs to be done to ensure the public’s confidence in us is not misplaced.”
We reached out to Norton through his attorney. He tells us they have no comment at this time other than he stands behind every case he was involved in. Meanwhile, Herring says he will not release anything from his investigation until this summer.
Stay with 8News for the latest on this developing story.