Hearing scheduled for Merrill plea change

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Seven months after his arrest on charges of producing child pornography in his Chester home, Norman Merrill is scheduled enter a change of plea in a hearing before U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss on Dec. 20. On May 23, Merrill pled not guilty to a three-count indictment alleging that he secretly recorded minor girls in “sexually explicit conduct.”

The U.S. District Court of Vermont calendar lists a brief change of a plea hearing and the federal court website shows a “plea agreement” but details are unavailable. It is unknown whether Merrill will be pleading to lesser charges or perhaps admitting guilt to get a reduced sentence, although the minimum for sexual exploitation of children is 15 years in prison.

Several websites of law firms that represent defendants in federal cases say that sentencing is generally 90 days after a plea or a guilty verdict. In the interim, documents recommending greater or lesser sentence length will be produced by probation authorities and the defense and these will be submitted to the judge who has some discretion in the length of the sentence and the number of years of post-release supervision, although mandatory sentences do not fall under that discretion.

Merrill was arrested on May 19, 2022 by Chester Police on a three-count federal indictment and transferred to Northwest Correctional Facility. He appeared before Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle on May 23 and pled not guilty to the charges and then on June 10, Judge Reiss denied his motion for pre-trial release. Six days later, federal marshals took custody of Merrill and, per that agency’s guidelines, his location has not been disclosed.

After a two-decade long career teaching middle school at Green Mountain Union High School, Merrill was fired by the GMUSD board on May 25, 2022 for conduct unbecoming a teacher.

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  1. Arlene Mutschler says:

    THe question is: how can he have been a teacher for 20yrs? and not gotten caught before this? I am sure he didnt just start 8-10 months ago?? How can this happen?