Pre-trial diversion agreement reached in Ron Sparks case
A criminal case pending against Lyons Town Marshal Ronald M. Sparks is unlikely to ever go to trial and could be dropped under the terms of a pre-trial diversion agreement between the prosecution and defense.
Defense Attorney Jacob Fish, representing Sparks, has confirmed that the defense reached an agreement with Special Prosecutor Barry Brown earlier this week.
According to Fish, Sparks must complete 14 hours of community service work.
For a one-year period, the case will be held and if Sparks does not get in trouble during that time, the case will be dismissed. During the one-year waiting period, Sparks would not be on probation -- probation is for individuals who have been convicted. But his case would just be in a holding pattern.
The pre-trial diversion program is for individuals who have no criminal record and have been charged with their first offense.
A pre-trial conference had been scheduled for Monday afternoon but that was vacated after the court was notified that Sparks had made a payment of $330 in the Greene County Clerk's Office to cover court costs and a fee for the pre-trial diversion program.
The pre-trial diversion agreement in the case had not officially been filed with the court as of Wednesday afternoon. The paperwork was prepared, but was waiting on a signature before it was entered in the record.
Following the initial investigation by Special Prosecutor Brown of Bloomington, the criminal case was filed against Sparks on Feb. 8 and a warrant issued for his arrest. Sparks turned himself in at the Greene County Sheriff's Department where his bond was set at $4,500 surety or 10 percent cash. He was released the same day after posting $450 cash.
Sparks was charged with criminal confinement, a class D felony, and battery, a class B misdemeanor, stemming from an incident that allegedly occurred on Nov. 3, 2012.
Sparks waived the initial hearing and reading of charges when he was in Greene Superior Court and the defense requested a no-contact order be vacated. During the hearing, the alleged victim in the case testified in support of dropping the no-contact order, and the request was granted by the court, with Judge Dena Martin on the bench.
Sparks, who has served as the Lyons Town Marshal for many years, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the criminal case. The Lyons Town Council made the decision, during a special session on Feb. 14, to place him on leave effective at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 15. He received full pay and benefits for 28 days, then continued on unpaid administrative leave.
During the Lyons Town Council's regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, Council President Scott Powers said the council would not be considering the town marshal's administrative leave during the meeting. But he added that he had received word that the case was coming to a conclusion and if that happened, the council would consult with their attorney Luke Rudisill during an executive session. Following that, the council is likely to call a special session to make a decision on Sparks' employment and administrative leave.