On Thursday, December 21, 2023, the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel filed a complaint against Attorney Eric Edward Norton relating to criminal charges brought against him in 2022 at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
The case is entitled “Disciplinary Counsel v. Eric Edward Norton,” with case no. 2023-047.
The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) and 8.4(h) which states:
A lawyer shall not commit an illegal act that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s honesty or trustworthiness.
A lawyer shall not engage in any other conduct that adversely reflects on the lawyer’s fitness to practice law.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
According to a complaint, Norton was detained on December 15, 2022, at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center where he attempted to smuggle methamphetamine and was found to be in possession of child pornography. Norton was visiting a client in jail when he was observed removing a baggie containing over 5.12 grams of meth from a security screening tray and taking it into the restroom. The drugs were later recovered from the trash can.
Norton’s cell phone, which was seized as evidence, was found to contain two illegal images depicting a minor engaged in sexually explicit acts upon examination by the United States Secret Service Cyber Fraud Task Force.
On March 29, 2023, Norton was indicted on charges of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, drug possession, conveyance of drugs into a detention facility, tampering with evidence, and possession of criminal tools. He pleaded not guilty at his April 18, 2023 arraignment.
On November 27, 2023, Norton requested to participate in an intervention in lieu of a conviction program. As part of a plea deal, Norton pleaded guilty to drug possession and possession of criminal tools relating to his cell phone. The remaining charges were dismissed and he was granted entry into the intervention program.
The disciplinary counsel complaint alleges Norton’s actions violated Ohio legal ethics rules regarding illegal conduct reflecting poorly on honesty and fitness to practice law. A hearing will be scheduled before the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct to determine if misconduct occurred and whether sanctions should be imposed against Norton’s law license.
The complaint states:
“Relator requests that respondent be found in violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct and be sanctioned accordingly.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Norton is a criminal defense attorney in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He attended the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. He acquired his law license in Ohio in 1999.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.