A West Valley man accused of using the courts to harass people and make money has managed to delay his own prosecution on felony charges for more than a year by filing dozens of motions and appeals.

Richard F. Norris has filed a flurry of appeals in various courts, forcing hearings and delays that prosecutors say are aimed at grinding the wheels of justice to a halt.Norris is charged with 10 counts of felony communications fraud in 3rd District Court. Since the warrants were issued, he has taken appeals to the Utah Court of Appeals, the Utah Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for Utah and, most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Norris, 42, says his appeals are legitimate. He said it was wrong for county prosecutors to file felonies against him after a West Valley City judge had dismissed lesser misdemeanor charges, even though none of those cases have gone to trial.

Norris is asking the nation's highest court to order Utah prosecutors to stop further "prosecution and harassment" of him, according to court documents.

But assistant West Valley City Attorney Elliot Lawrence says Norris is simply "wasting time and resources." The Utah Appeals Court and Utah Supreme Court have already dismissed Norris' appeals, and Lawrence is sure the U.S. Supreme Court will do the same.

Deputy Salt Lake District Attorney Ernie Jones said Norris is mounting a deliberate delaying action. "He's hoping the witnesses will lose interest or that we won't be able to find them," Jones said.

Since 1984, Norris has sued more than 400 people in Utah small claims courts for breach of contract. Most were individuals who had reneged on business contracts with Norris in connection with his businesses such as Norris Publishing, LaRoe International and Great American Publishing.

He also sued the Salt Lake Tribune, claiming defamation of character and invasion of privacy after stories about his lawsuits appeared. A 3rd District judge dismissed the suit in 1995, saying statements about him were true.

Meanwhile, at least nine people have joined in a civil lawsuit accusing Norris of fraud. A trial is set for Feb. 2 before 3rd District Judge Pat Brian.

The felony charges allege he tricked people into become sales representatives for a dietary supplement company he was operating. When victims tried to return products they were obliged to buy, he sued them.

Prosecutors allege Norris saddled his victims with an impossible obligation. "Norris used this scheme knowing people could not live up to the requirements of the contract," fraud charges allege.

When city prosecutors charged him with a series of misdemeanors in 1995, he argued the charges should have been felonies because of the amount of money allegedly lost.

After several months of appeals and legal wrangling, the city dropped an appeal and let county prosecutors file felonies. Now Norris is claiming those charges are vindictive.