Another success story heard in Taylor County Circuit Court


TAYLOR COUNTY—One Taylor County defendant received a new sentence, following his successful completion of a rehabilitation program.

Dakota Lewis was back in Taylor County Circuit Court last week to report to Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Alan D. Moats that he had completed a rehab program.

Lewis was originally sentenced to sexual assault in the second degree and was ordered to enter into a rehabilitation program at Anthony Correctional Facility. He has since successfully completed the program.

“We are here today because they recommended that he be returned to the court and placed on probation,” said Lewis’ council Greg Michael. “Dakota has done extremely well. I hope that the court will place him on probation.”

Lewis told the court that he learned a great deal through the program.

“I was a very difficult program, but I learned a lot through it. It showed me how to handle myself in certain situations,” he reported.

Moat commended Lewis on the completion of the program. He ordered that the defendant serve seven years of probation through the Taylor County Probation Office, and upon his completion of the seven years, he would serve an additional 20 years under an extended probationary period.

“If you do well on probation and you follow the rules, I will allow your probation officer to make a recommendation to have that extended period reduced,” Moats added.

While one defendant shared his success story, another was back in court after experiencing a setback with his sentencing.

Jacob Roy Sparks was present with his lawyer, Jason Gain, to address an issue that would cause the course of a negotiated plea to be altered.

Sparks was originally indicted for fraudulent schemes and in March entered a guilty plea, in which the state would agree to deferred adjudication if he successfully completed community corrections.

It was ordered that he would be allowed to attend a drug treatment program at the Kanawha Valley Fellowship home, a sober living facility.

Sparks was then terminated from that program when officials there accused that he had attempted to steal a drug test. His supervised bond was revoked, a capias was issued for his arrest and Sparks was apprehended on July 14.

“I don’t think that I can make any argument for the court to continue with the deferred adjudication,” voiced Gain. “We are asking that he serve a 60-day sanction and then be placed back into community corrections.”

When asked where he had been hiding out after being terminated from the program, Sparks told the court that he stayed in the Charleston area, working and attending his NA meetings.

“Then I came back here and was walking to the hospital when I was picked up,” Sparks revealed. “I was going to the hospital to turn myself in because I was feeling suicidal, and that’s when the police got me.”

Moats ordered that the deferred adjudication would be revoked and that Sparks’ 1-10-year sentence would be reinstated, with credit for time he had spent in jail.

“I am not comfortable giving you a sanction and releasing you to community corrections,” Moats expressed. “However, if you are able to secure a spot in a long-term treatment facility, I will allow it.”

Jason Lee Sturms was also back before Moats to petition for new council, citing that he believed he was not being fully represented.

“I can’t get my lawyers on the same page, and I can’t get anyone to prepare a defense for me,” Sturms reported. “I think that my Abuse and Neglect lawyer would be a better lawyer to represent me.”

He noted that he had asked for his council, Scott Sough, to petition the court for a reduction in bond, as well as a speedy trial.

“I’ve had Mr. Sough since March and I’m not aware of anything we’ve done to prepare for a trial,” Sturms voiced. “I don’t feel like I’ve been represented. I would just like some representation.”

Moats shared that he believed Sough to be a very good lawyer and that he would take Sturms’ motion under advisement. He said he would get in contact with the proposed council and then another hearing would be scheduled.

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