State v. Norman, COA22-812, ___ N.C. App. ___ (Mar. 7, 2023)

In this Alamance County case, defendant appealed his convictions for human trafficking and sexual servitude regarding his ex-wife, arguing error in the denial of his motion to dismiss for insufficient evidence. The Court of Appeals found no error.

From 2015 to 2018, defendant operated a prostitution ring in the Alamance County area, operating at truck stops and using websites such as to solicit customers. Eight to twelve women were involved in defendant’s prostitution ring, and paid him for drugs and hotel rooms that he provided, which were to be used for liaisons with paying customers. One of the women involved in the prostitution ring was defendant’s ex-wife, who assisted him in doing whatever was needed to operate the prostitution ring. After several incidents with law enforcement, defendant was arrested and charged with several counts of human trafficking, sexual servitude, and promoting prostitution. Another prostitute that worked with defendant was also charged and reached a plea agreement after agreeing to testify for the state. 

Reviewing defendant’s appeal, the court found ample evidence to support the denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss. Defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence showing he held his wife in sexual servitude or trafficked her. The court pointed to evidence showing that defendant arranged for and transported his ex-wife to a truck stop on at least one occasion in 2017 for prostitution, including evidence showing his name on a business card used by the caller requesting a prostitute. Evidence also showed that defendant sold drugs to his ex-wife and provided her with a room at the hotel where he provided rooms to the other prostitutes he managed. Based on this evidence in the record, the court found no error in dismissing defendant’s motion. Although the court noted that some evidence supported the conclusion that the ex-wife may have been involved in the management of the prostitution ring, the court explained that “[c]ontradictions and discrepancies do not warrant dismissal of the case but are for the jury to resolve.” Slip Op. at 12-13, quoting State v. Scott, 356 N.C. 591, 596 (2002).