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Kanawha commissioners seek to oust prosecutor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County commissioners voted unanimously to draft a petition to remove Prosecutor Mark Plants from office.

Commissioner Dave Hardy made the motion during Thursday evening’s commission meeting. The motion came during discussion of payment for special prosecutors Sidney Bell, who is handling the criminal case against Plants, and Don Morris, who has taken over domestic violence and cases abuse and neglect involving children. So far the county has paid the special prosecutors $92,770.

Hardy, who has made no secret of his distaste for the expenses, said Plants’ agreement to attend a 32-week Batterers’ Intervention and Prevention Program in Putnam County was a “quarter of a million dollar” piece of paper.

“We are in a situation where for eight more months due to his misconduct, not the taxpayers of this county’s misconduct, his misconduct that he is not going to be able to prosecute roughly 500 cases,” Hardy said. “That’s going to go on for eight more months and that’s assuming the best case scenario.”

He said the best case scenario would involve Plants, who faces misdemeanor charges of domestic battery and violating a protective order, completing the eight-month program and Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom finding the conflict of interest had been resolved.

Bloom found in April there was a conflict in Plants and his office handling such cases.

If Plants, who is accused of domestic battery after leaving a large bruise on his son’s leg after whipping him with a belt and violating a protective order, completes the program, Special Prosecutor Sidney Bell can make a motion to dismiss the charges. That does not mean the charges will be dismissed.

Commission President Kent Carper said to his knowledge the agreement has not yet been filed and it’s his understanding Plants has not met with officials in Putnam County to begin the program.

“Best case scenario we’re going to spend another quarter of a million dollars while Mr. Plants sorts out his various and sundry problems,” Hardy said. “That’s unacceptable to me…

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