Winchester man charged with drug trafficking


In 2015, Stratton claimed prosecutor bias

By David Wright - dwright@timesgazette.com



Stratton

Stratton


A Winchester man who claimed in a 2015 trial that the county prosecutor was biased against him was charged earlier this week with trafficking in drugs, according to court documents.

Wesley A. Stratton, 24, was charged Sunday evening after a Hillsboro police officer found a set of digital scales and suspected cocaine in a backpack in his vehicle, according to a law enforcement affidavit.

Stratton’s vehicle was searched after a traffic accident in which Stratton was allegedly at fault, according to the affidavit.

After the accident, Stratton reportedly tried to hand off his backpack to a passerby, saying that there were drugs in it and he didn’t want to get in trouble with the police, the affidavit said.

Stratton argued in 2015 that Highland County Prosecuting Attorney Anneka Collins was not treating him fairly “because she has a problem with my father,” the chief deputy at the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.

At that time, Stratton had pled guilty to trafficking in marijuana, a fifth-degree felony, and entered a program which is offered through the prosecutor’s office as an alternative to felony sentencing.

First-time, low-level offenders admitted into the program have the opportunity to have felony charges against them dismissed if they successfully complete the program, which can last a year or more depending on the progress of the individual.

A year after Stratton entered the program, his probation officer filed violations against him alleging that he had sold drugs to a juvenile and was associating with others on probation after a 17-year-old female in the Highland County Juvenile Court system testified that Stratton had sold her cocaine and marijuana.

During a hearing on the allegations against Stratton, Stratton testified that the juvenile “lies a lot,” and that he believed he had completed the diversion program.

Stratton had said previously that he was “a pawn in a political chess game.”

Collins argued that Stratton was “given the same opportunity” as anyone else in his position, adding that she didn’t feel Stratton’s “attitude has been appropriate” for the program from the beginning. Collins also said based on things that occurred at the beginning of the case, most people would not have been given the diversion program.

Retired Franklin County Judge Dale Crawford, who presided over the case after Judge Rocky Coss recused himself, said being placed in the program was not a right, but a privilege granted to him by the prosecution.

“It sounds like you have a lot of ill will toward the prosecution,” the judge said. “(Collins) didn’t have to allow you in the program in the first place.”

Ultimately, Crawford determined that Stratton violated his diversion supervision and he accepted the guilty plea.

Stratton was later sentenced to two years of community control sanctions, according to court records.

The case filed against Stratton earlier this week is pending, and he remains incarcerated at the Highland County Justice Center on $25,000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 24.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Stratton
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/04/web1_fwesley-stratton.jpgStratton
In 2015, Stratton claimed prosecutor bias

By David Wright

dwright@timesgazette.com