NVDAILY.COM | Local News
Posted August 16, 2012 | 15 Comments
Public defender eligibility questioned in dumpster meat case
By Joe Beck -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A case involving a Maryland man accused of stocking adulterated and misbranded meat at a Front Royal store is headed for court on Sept. 18 to determine whether he is entitled to representation by a court-appointed public defender.
Warren County Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Madden said Wednesday he intends to "raise the issue" of public defender eligibility for Rodney L. Cole Sparks. Coles is charged with 10 counts of selling meat described in the criminal complaint against him as "temperature abused, freezer burned, putrid, decomposed, unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome and (appearing) unfit for human food."
Sparks is identified in court documents as owner of a store at 654 W. 11th St.
The complaint accuses Sparks, of Monrovia, Md. of obtaining the food from a Food Lion Dumpster in Berryville and offering it for sale in his store.
Madden offered few details about the arguments he plans to make before Judge Dennis L. Hupp, although he noted that Sparks owns property in Front Royal and Maryland. Public defenders are usually appointed for clients deemed too poor to pay for their own attorney.
Court documents signed by Sparks include lists of his assets and income and a statement asking for a public defender.
A checklist for bail determination lists Sparks income at $10,000 annually and his level of education as a high school graduate. The same document also lists his place of employment as "only business in (Front Royal)."
The document lists that he had secured the $15,000 bail imposed on him as of March 1.
A financial statement filed a day later lists him as self-employed at the time of his arrest and his pay period as "whenever he can sell anything."
His real estate assets are a home with a net value of $275,000 and an unspecified business worth $62,000, according to the statement. The statement shows him as owner of a 2006 Saturn crossover SUV and a 2004 Chevrolet truck. The statement also lists a checking account at BB&T containing $260.
The court documents include a list of meats he stocked at his store, their prices and the dates it was on sale.
The lowest price item is listed as Gores Souse at $1 for 0.64 pounds on Jan. 12. The highest price is 93 percent lean ground beef at $6.50 for 4.16 pounds on Nov. 13.
Other prices and items on the list include: fresh ground chuck at $1.25 per .98 pounds; fresh ground beef not to exceed 27 percent fat at $1.75 for 1.17 pounds; beef sirloin strip steaks at $3.50 for 1.64 pounds; and beef and half eye of round roast beef at $4.50 for 2.66 pounds.