A former Olive Hill mayor serving time for selling marijuana may be given shock probation next Monday.
Danny Sparks, 56, pleaded guilty in December to trafficking in marijuana within 1,000 yards of a school, a Class D felony.
He was sentenced to two years in prison in Carter Circuit Court on Jan. 6 and began serving his sentence on Feb. 3.
In the motion filed March 8, Sparks' attorney, Robin Webb, says that he is the type of individual for whom shock probation was intended. She asks that the court hear the matter next Monday.
“The defendant has had the opportunity to experience incarceration and has been a model inmate,” Webb stated. “There is a level of complete confidence that the defendant will complete any probationary period and comply with any conditions imposed by this court without incident.”
Judge Rebecca Phillips denied probation for Sparks during the sentencing, stating that because he held a public office at the time of his arrest, the crime became more egregious.
Phillips said that a review of the evidence in the case weighed heavily in her decision.
“Mr. Sparks said this was an isolated incident but that doesn't seem to be the case,” Phillips said. “When I reviewed the file there was a transcript of the tapes. There is a quote from the tape indicating that this was not an isolated offense. Mr. Sparks said 'I had to sell the bag I had and go get another one for you.'”
He was arrested Nov. 28, 2012, after selling marijuana to an undercover informant working for the FADE Drug Task Force. The transaction took place in a parking lot near Olive Hill Elementary School, police said.
FADE said the investigation leading to Sparks’ arrest had been ongoing for several weeks.
Following his arrest, Sparks wrote a resignation letter in which he said he’d made a bad mistake and failed the city of Olive Hill and its people. However, that letter was never submitted to City Council.
Sparks, who had been mayor since 2000, resigned a few days later. His brief, handwritten letter of resignation didn’t mention his arrest.
Instead, it cited “present circumstances” and said resignation would be best for the city, the council and his family.
Council appointed one of its members, Kenny Fankell, to serve the remainder of Sparks’ term, which expires at the end of December.
Leeann Akers can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 474-5101.