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Bondsman sues Sheriff alleging unfair suspension from work

Sheriff says suspension justified by Staff Writer | June 17, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.

A bail bondsman has sued Ouachita County Sheriff David Norwood, alleging the official violated his rights when he suspended his ability to write bonds.

Norwood, meanwhile, said he took the action because he believed the bondsman had an inappropriate relationship with a client.

Court documents show that Jay Hick of Bryce's Bail Bonds is suing Norwood over an incident in which the sheriff discontinued his ability to work in the county.

Hicks' suit argues that he wrote a bond for a woman and when he surrendered her to the county jail, Norwood "called (Hicks) a pervert and told me I was not allowed to write bonds in his county any longer."

The suit goes on to state that Hicks' livelihood has been affected as a result of the sheriff's actions and argues that Norwood does not have the legal authority to suspend him from writing bonds.

Norwood said he suspended Hicks from writing bonds due to inappropriate conduct with the female prisoner and that criminal charges may be filed in the case.

Norwood stated, "Right now, the case that we're investigating, he bonded this person of the opposite sex out, and takes her to the casino and she comes back and alleges she's been raped after he surrenders her back, in his shirt and underwear. I suspended him from doing any bonding from this county, which is what the (Arkansas Professional) Bail Bondsman (Licensing) Board suggests, and that's what I did."

He added, "I think it's pretty inappropriate for a bondsmen to bond a female out, get her drunk and bring her back in his clothes."

Norwood stated that the Criminal Investigation Department is investigating the incident stating,"We're working it right, we're getting the video tapes from the casino, subpoenaing phone records. There's no doubt that she's telling the truth."

Hicks' lawsuit denies any sexual assault and claims that the woman in question "has maintained that she never accused the plaintiff of rape." It also maintains that Hicks found her intoxicated in public.

Norwood said due to the power dynamic between Hicks and the prisoner, he considered any actions she may have taken to be the result of coercion.

Norwood stated, "He could throw her back in jail any time. To me it's the same thing as law enforcement... same thing as a school teacher, that's my opinion. I don't know if that's the law. They do have authority over them because they have the right to throw them back in jail. "

He also stated that anyone who was affected similarly should contact the Sheriff's Department.

He said, "If there's anyone else that's run across the same thing, we need to know about it. I understand getting out of jail, but having to return sexual favors is not right."

Print Headline: Bondsman sues Sheriff alleging unfair suspension from work

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