CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Mingo County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks is no longer licensed to practice law in West Virginia. On Friday, the state Supreme Court nullified his law license.
The move came just two days after Sparks was charged in U.S. District Court with violating a man’s Constitutional rights. Sparks resigned from office this week and indicated, at that time, he would surrender his law license.
He is accused of participating in a conspiracy, with former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury and former Mingo County Commissioner David Baisden, to protect late Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.
Federal prosecutors said Sparks’ cooperation was “key” to a scheme to give Crum’s alleged drug dealer a more lenient drug sentence, earlier this year, because he changed lawyers and stopped talking to federal investigators about Crum.
Earlier this week, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Sparks could serve time in prison. “He certainly is exposed to jail time. That is entirely within the discretion of the court,” said Goodwin. According to federal guidelines, the maximum sentence for a violation of Constitutional rights is one year.
The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel had petitioned the Supreme Court to pull Sparks’ license when charges were first filed against Thornsbury. Sparks, who was named in the Thornsbury information, originally fought to keep his license, but has now dropped those efforts.
He will have to wait at least five years before attempting to get back his law license.
Teresa Maynard is serving as acting Prosecuting Attorney in Mingo County.