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Kanawha prosecutor defies calls to resign

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants defiantly refused calls for his resignation Monday in the wake of a child abuse investigation.

“If spanking was a crime, 75 percent of Kanawha County would be in jail,” Plants said at a hastily called news conference Monday morning.

Plants has been charged with domestic battery after allegedly spanking his son with a leather belt and causing a 6- to 7-inch bruise. He also is charged with violating a protective order by speaking to his children and ex-wife; Plants says he found the children in an unattended vehicle at a local pharmacy.

On Friday, the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel told the state Supreme Court that either Plants should be suspended or his office should be prevented from working on cases that involve allegations of violence by parents against children, or both. Justices could take up the issue next week.

Plants said Monday that murders in Kanawha County are down 75 percent in the six years he has been prosecutor. He said he has a better prosecution record than any prosecutor in recent history.

He also disagreed with suggestions that there was a conflict of interest in his office investigating domestic violence cases involving children.

“The law clearly says that corporal punishment is legal as long as it’s reasonable,” Plants said. He said he can objectively look at a case and decide if the law was broken.

However, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper said two domestic violence cases in Kanawha Circuit Court were continued on Monday because of potential conflicts of interest with prosecutors…

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