Man jailed after showing up for court hearing allegedly on methamphetamine

Deputy alerted when syringe allegedly fell out of man’s pocket
Marlo Pronovost
Friday, August 9, 2019
Article Image Alt Text

A convicted felon who was supposed to be sentenced Thursday morning for failing to register as a violent offender was taken away in handcuffs for allegedly walking into court under the influence of methamphetamine. 

When Joshua H. Norton arrived at the 22nd Judicial District Court in Columbus on Aug. 8, a sheriff’s deputy reportedly saw a syringe fall out Norton’s pocket, said Stillwater County Undersheriff Randy Smith. Norton, 39, was escorted to another location in the courthouse, where he allegedly tested positive for meth, said Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde.

Because Norton was allegedly under the influence of a drug, the sentencing hearing did not take place. Judge Matt Wald did take a moment to note that Norton had been facing a “non-custodial disposition” prior to Thursday morning's events, meaning  he had not been facing a jail term. However, that changed almost immediately.

In addition to Thursday’s alleged drug activity, Rohde said Norton has still not registered as a violent offender. State law mandates that Norton be listed on the Montana Sexual Violent Offender Registry (SVOR) due to his 2017 felony conviction of strangulation of a partner/family member in Yellowstone County. Because he lives in the Columbus area, he is required to also register with local authorities, who work with the Montana SVOR.

Based on those factors, Rohde successfully sought -- and was granted -- a $50,000 bond amount.

A woman who had been sitting with Norton during court wept during the hearing and as she left the courtroom, said “we are homeless, you don’t understand how hard it is.”

As of Friday morning, Aug. 9, Norton remained in the Yellowstone County Detention Facility