Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 20, 2013

Mingo prosecutor defends not reporting judge

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CHARLESTON — Mingo County prosecutor Michael Sparks is defending not reporting the conduct of a judge who now faces federal charges.

Sparks tells the Charleston Gazette that he was working in what he calls an intimidating environment. He says it’s difficult to get a judicial officer fired.

Last week, Mingo County Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury was indicted on two conspiracy counts. Thornsbury is accused of having an affair with his secretary and trying to frame her husband for several crimes, including larceny and assault.

The indictment says Sparks intervened in the larceny case because he recognized that the charges were improper. He also dismissed the assault charges.

State Bar president Harry Dietzler says a prosecutor would want to be sure of the facts before accusing a judge of illegal conduct.