A federal weapons charge, long held in abeyance, is now keeping convicted Dodger Stadium assailant Marvin Norwood behind bars, even after his plea agreement compelled the county jail system to release him.
The federal Marshal took custody of Norwood Friday, and transferred him to a courtroom in the Roybal Federal Building to be charged with illegal possession of firearms. At that hearing, Magistrate Judge Frederick Mumm ordered Norwood detained at least until a hearing next Wednesday.
Norwood and co-defendant Louie Sanchez accepted plea agreements Thursday, 31 months after they had been arrested for the near-fatal beating of visiting Giants fan Bryan Stow.
Both Sanchez and Norwood had remained in custody as the case worked its way through the criminal justice system. Sanchez was sentenced to eight years; Norwood to four.
But because the method for computing days remaining to be served compounds the credit for days already served, Norwood was deemed to have already fulfilled his sentence.
"People look at this and say that's crazy," said NBC4 legal analyst Royal Oakes, an attorney not involved in the case. "The real punishment for Norwood may come in the federal system."
Norward could face 10 years in federal prison if convicted of the weapons violation.
The weapons case dates from the search done of Norwood's Rialto home in July 2011, after he and Sanchez had been identified as suspects in the Stow attack.
Finding weapons in Norwood's garage, LAPD investigators notified the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which sought a filing by the U.S. Attorney. Investigators seized five weapons, including two handguns, a shotgun, a Marlin semi-automatic rifle, and a Bushmaster XM15-E2S semi-automatic rifle with a scope and a "large capacity magazine," according to the affidavit of ATF Special Agent Steven Goerke.
Questions about how the weapons were obtained were raised in the affidavit. But the threshold issue for the federal filing is the law forbidding convicted felons from possessing firearms.
Norwood was convicted of felony domestic violence in 2006, the affidavit stated.
Norwood was wearing County Jail coveralls during the plea and sentencing in Superior Court Thursday. Friday afternoon he was wearing a black T-shirt when brought to the federal courtroom.
Appointed to represent Norwood, a federal public defender requested a bond hearing, and it was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 26. The U.S. Attorney's office will look at the bond level proposed by Norwood's public attorney before taking a position, Assistant U.S. Attorney Max Shiner said after Friday's hearing.
Back in 2011, Norwood told investigators he was keeping the guns for Sanchez. He also faces similar federal prosecution, but not until after he finishes serving his state prison sentence for the Stow attack.
It is not uncommon for recidivist ex-cons to be in possession of firearms when committing violent crimes for which they are prosecuted, though not always do they also face federal weapons charges.
In the case of Norwood, Shiner said the decision came to file after federal authorities were contacted by local authorities.
"Prosecutors try to be fair," Oakes said. "But let's be honest. They know the circumstances of the case."