Norris to be released from prison tomorrow

Former Baltimore police Commissioner and Maryland State Police chief Edward T. Norris, inmate No. 41115-037, is scheduled to be released tomorrow from federal prison in Atlanta.

Norris, 44, pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to misuse money from the supplemental city police fund and to lying on tax returns. Prosecutors say Norris used the money to pay for romantic liaisons, lavish meals, hotel stays and gifts.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Norris last summer to six months' incarceration, followed by six months of home detention. Norris also was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and perform 500 hours of community service in Baltimore.

Norris' attorney, David B. Irwin, filed a motion in federal court Friday to have the community service moved to Florida, as Norris, his wife and his son now live in Tampa.

"It's more practical for him to do it where he lives," Irwin said.

Norris initially reported to the minimum-security federal prison at Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle.

He was evacuated for Hurricane Ivan, spent about six weeks sleeping on the floor of a federal prison in Mississippi and then was transferred to the facility in Atlanta, Irwin said. Norris spent one night in the basement of Atlanta's maximum security prison, but was moved into the adjacent minimum-security camp, Irwin said.

Norris has lost 48 pounds, Irwin said.

The third-generation New York officer was hired in early 2000 to be Baltimore's chief deputy police commissioner. He took over less than three months later as commissioner and was known for both his blunt talk and morale-boosting. He resigned his post in December 2002 to become chief of the state police. He resigned from that post when he was indicted in December 2003.

In Baltimore, Norris presided over a precipitous drop in the annual homicide count - from 305 in 1999, the year before he started, to 253 in 2002, the year he resigned. The homicide count has climbed each of the two years since his departure.