Ex-deputy’s ‘turfing’ trial begins Tuesday.

January 30, 2017


OceanaCountyNews #OceanaCountyCourtNews

Ex-deputy’s ‘turfing’ trial begins Tuesday.

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — The jury trial against fired Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Wesley John Hanks, 52, who faces two misdemeanor “turfing” charges and a charge of using a police radio while committing a misdemeanor, is set to begin Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 9 a.m. in 78th District Court.

Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead is handling the case.

Hanks, who had worked for the department for over 11 years, faces two misdemeanor charges of malicious destruction of trees, shrubs, crops, grass, turf, soil less than $200 and police radio receivers/scanners – use in the commission of a misdemeanor.

Hanks, who was arrested by the Hart post of the Michigan State Police, was still employed as a sheriff’s deputy when he allegedly committed the crimes, according to his court file. The charges stem from an Aug. 5 incident, his file states.

“John was employed by the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office from Feb. 21, 2005 until Sept. 21, 2016,” previously said Oceana County Sheriff Robert Farber. Hanks was terminated from his employment.

The matter was turned over to the Special Investigation Section at the MSP district headquarters in Rockford. A message left at that office was not returned.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said he recused himself from the case due to a conflict of interest. The case was handed over to Springstead, who previously declined further comment on the case due “the ethical rules of a prosecutor.” Springstead said he did not want to go into any further detail beyond what is contained in the criminal complaint. “I don’t want to taint a potential jury pool.”

Hanks is free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

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