CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When it comes to questions about how the Stand Your Ground law should be applied, Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants says it’s sometimes best to let a jury decide.

MetroNews file photo

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants says the judicial system is ‘not perfect,’ but it works.

“That is my default,” said Plants.  “If there is a serious bodily injury or there’s a death and I’m having a hard time deciding whether to move forward or not, I always default and let the people decide, take it to a jury, let them hear the evidence and let them make a decision.”

West Virginia is one of more than 20 states with a Stand Your Ground law which protects citizens from prosecution if their use of force against an attacker is justified because they are defending themselves.

A member of the Florida jury that acquitted George Zimmerman last weekend of charges connected to the death of Trayvon Martin cited Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, on CNN’s “AC 360” Monday night, as one of the factors in the not guilty decision.

Zimmerman’s defense was not focused on Stand Your Ground, but the details of the law were included in the jury instructions.

In West Virginia, Plants said the Stand Your Ground law has two categories: one for those at no fault, who are attacked with no provocation, and a second for those at fault, meaning they are the reason for the altercation.

In the latter case, he said the attacker has the duty to retreat if force is not imminent.

At times, Plants said it’s tough to make a call based on the details of individual cases.

“Sometimes you just have to let a jury decide,” Plants said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  “It’s not perfect, but it’s the best justice system on the planet.”

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  • ConservativeRealist

    "There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public.

    Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs.

    There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well. " - Booker T. Washington

  • Rick

    meep, YOU do not understand much of the details... As a neighborhood watch, that is exactly what they are supposed to do. Interact with residents, non-residents alike. Thats why they are called watches. If Martin had given Zimmerman the opportunity to ask what he was doing, which was valid, then the results would have been much different. The FACT that Martin waited and then attacked Zimmerman because he was being followed that shows he was just a paranoid, drug user/gangsta thug.


    At least Plants isn't keeping evidence from the judge and defense and jury, like Corey the prosecutor did in the Zimmerman did. Alan Derschewitz thinks she intentionally left the pic out that would have substantiated that Trayvon beat Georges head against the cement. Doing that, he says, was criminal.

  • Luke

    If the Prosecutor, who is supposed to be trained in the law, can not determine from the evidence available to him whether someone asserting self defense was in fear of severe bodily harm or death, how is a jury composed of non lawyers supposed to make that determination? Why is that the fair thing to do? If Plants doesn't want the responsibility of having to make a decision, he needs to seek another line of work. He is not doing a service to anyone by "defaulting" to a jury when he is in doubt.


    Thank you for supporting my position against shallowness (Meeps opinion on this subject.) For a while there I thought I was going to have to put up the good fight myself, just like Georg Zimmerman was proved by a court of law to have done against Tayvon Martin.


    The Balt/Washington example is perfect in explaining why the blacks don't pursue their so called injustice equally. Every day blacks kill blacks in the DC metro area. No protests there for justice. How come? And the next time a black person calls me a cracker or other a its name I will be filing a civil suit and ask for a hate crime arrest. As for Obama sticking his nose where it certainly doesnt belong, well no surprises here, its just representaive of his overall unprofessionalism and one sided view of our country. he does not represent all of us and never has for that matter. Additionally, the NAACP is nothing more than a lynch mob of whiners. i keep waiting for someone to launch the NAAWP as I am positive new members will far exceed the racist NAACP. End of story.

    • Smooth D

      I completely agree. But if an organization like the NAAWP did form; the NAACP and ACLU would jump all over it and declare it a racist organization and fight to stop any type of federal funding that they might be entitled to receive.

      • CaptainQ

        There already IS a NAAWP in existance, it's called the Ku Klux Klan.....

        Remember the KKK? The late Robert C. Byrd was once a member of that group, right?

        No thanks, I'll have no part of that!

  • Rocketscientist

    Its a shame that one case gets ALL the medias attention while nationwide violence gets overlooked by the "special interest groups" and Rev Al, Jesse, Obama. The Presidents home state of Ill, can't control OVERWHEALMING same race crimes (Fathers Days shootings, etc)

  • CaptainQ

    West Virginia has a "Stand Your Ground" law?

    OH NO!

    That means Stevie Wonder is going to boycott the Mountain State too, since he has just declared he will not perform in ANY state that has a 'Stand Your Ground' law in it!

    Oh wait, that's right, Stevie Wonder never performs here anyway!

    Oops! Nevermind......

  • Jephre

    I know it's been said before, but if the races were reversed in this situation there would never have been a trial. How is that fair? Now if Holder, Sharpton, Jackson, and Obama will just butt out, maybe things will calm down.

  • wuu83

    What about all these black men in Baltimore Washington DC New York and so on. when are people going make all this noise for them. for when they shoot and kill each other over drugs shoes you name it they are shooting each other for it.

  • BigDave

    Since we have a stand your ground law, that means Stevie Wonder will never perform here.

    Yeah, I'm as upset as you are.


    This was not a civil rights trial, under law it cannot be. It was the prosecutor who did not show the judge the pictures she had of Zimmerman's face, which showed he was being attached by Martin, defending himself from Martin banging his head against concrete. It was proved in a court of law, even there would have never been a case if it weren't for politics or the prosecutor intentionally not showing the judge the picture of Zimmerman's face. Check out what a premier attorney thinks of the whole thing.

    • Meep

      Maybe Zimmerman should have left Tryvon Martin alone.

      Problem solved.

      • BigDave

        Maybe Tayvon should have just walked home instead of sucker punching and slamming someone's head in the ground. Too bad for him that white cracker had a gun.

        A kid is dead, and that is sad. But, he deserved it and had every opportunity to avoid any confrontation.

        Don't bring just your fists to a gunfight. Cracka.

        • Meep

          Maybe Trayvon Martin didn't feel like putting up with being bullied by some cop wannabe. Maybe he didn't take to kindly for being hassled for minding his own business by someone who had absolutely no legal right to tell him (Martin) to do anything.

          Since when does a concealed weapon give any ordinary joe the right to detain law abiding citizens for no good reason? Since when did Zimmerman have the authority to tell Martin to do anything?

          I would have "minded" and Martin didn't have to either.

          You just think there's one less thug in the world. I know the type.

          • john

            Trayvon should have learned to respect his elders and not attacked Zimmerman when approached. He learned the hard way. Trayvon was the aggressor, just because youre carrying doesnt mean you have an agenda contrary to commie pinko leftist

  • Troy Sexton

    God Bless our Judicial System and God Bless torturing fellow Americans.

  • Meep

    Mr. Plants forgot to mention the wait-until-your-drunk-husband-is-asleep-then-shoot-his-brains-out version of "stand your ground."

    Our lovely West Virginia Supreme Court carved out an exception to first degree murder for abused women. Instead of leaving, they can just wait until their husband passes out drunk, then they can shoot him.


    He may say it's the fairest system on our planet, but I submit that the Zimmerman case is a prime example of the unfairness of the judicial courts.
    First off, to begin with, there shouldn't have been a trial. Zimmerman wasn't arrested until the judicial system caved to political pressures, until the black Americans rallied in support of Trayvon. His mother famously saying that all we want is a trial. Well, they got their trial, but couldn't not accept "the best system on the planet."
    I do agree that if the judicial system didn't cower to the media, the left wing liberals, the black leaders, including our President in this case, then it would be considered a fair system.
    Now, even though Zimmerman has been tried by a jury of his peers to be innocent, he and his family and supporters have to live the rest of their lives in fear, is that fair? Is that what America is supposed to stand for?
    And then, the other part of the aftermath, will the fools who rioted because they have been wronged, they pillage and fight and create all kinds of mayhem. Will they be brought to this court of justice? A reasonable person would have to answer no.

    • Shadow

      It would appear to me that in any situation where there is only one witness to a death and the facts are murky, the situation should be taken to a Grand Jury. Who trusts the Police? The first thing you should learn as a parent is: If you child comes home with a story, check out the other side of it before you make any decisions.

    • Meep

      A person is dead. Someone who was minding his own business was hassled by some cop wannabe with a hero complex and he decided he wasn't going to put up with it. Zimmerman messed with the wrong dude.

      So, like any other p---y who dreams of heroics but is a bully at heart, George panicked when someone called him on his bull and he reacted by pulling a gun an unarmed kid.

      Now if there had been no gun in that situation, most likely everyone would have walked away and George would be in his parent's basement right now instead of on the run. But George thought it was a good idea to disregard the police and take justice in his own hands by hassling someone who was minding his own business.

      If you were sitting around minding your own business and some random person started telling you what to do, how would you feel?

      • Bill

        You appear very unfamiliar with the facts in this case. Mr. Zimmerman did not "hassle" Mr. Martin. He followed him. At one point, Mr. Martin evaded him and could have easily gone home. Instead of talking to his friend he could have called 911. He did neither. Instead, he confronted Mr. Zimmerman. A struggle ensued, and Mr. Martin died.

        It is not even clear that Mr. Zimmerman spoke to Mr. Martin before Mr. Martin attacked him! A case can be made that, had Mr. Zimmerman not been armed, he would have been killed and the assailant's name would be unknown.

      • john

        Youre wrong, Zimmerman didnt mess with the wrong dude. Trayvon messed with someone with "LEGAL" concealed weapon. That makes the person carrying not want to find out as you say "Now if there had been no gun in that situation, most likely everyone would have walked away"

        • Meep

          P.S. Do you think Zimmerman would have provoked Martin if he (Zimmerman) didn't have a gun??????

          I seriously doubt it.

          • Big Johnny

            Sure this whole thing could have been avoided if George would have walked away from Martin; however his neighborhood had seen an increase in break-ins. Sure it could have been avoided if Martin used the sidewalks instead of cutting between houses. The prosecution didn't have a case and they knew it...that's why they didn't initially arrest George. It wasn't until politics got involved and a special prosecutor was assigned that George was arrested. Everything the prosecution tried to use in their favor the defense had a rebuttal. My opinion is that George was reason for this is because if someone is slamming my head into the pavement I'm going to do whatever is necessary to save my life. What I also think is that the state of Florida has some of the worst prosecutors in the nation. They had more than enough evidence to convict Casey Anthony but failed and they took this case to court (again with no evidence) and failed.

        • Meep

          So that's why you carry a concealed weapon? So that you can mess with people and have justification to shoot them if they kick you as-- like you would so richly deserve if you bullied someone just because you had a gun you knew you could use?

          Have you ever heard of leaving people alone and if you choose to hassle them, get your as-- kicked square up? Rather you would provoke someone, knowing you have a gun, then shoot them?

          Zimmerman had no nads and neither does any coward who carries a gun and provokes people only because he does have a gun instead of a set.

          • john

            You carry a weapon to protect yourself, that doesnt make you a coward, it keeps you from being a victim. Zimmerman should have taken an as whippin, and not kill the kid, but as the facts state, he was not the one who threw first punch, and therefore had the right to protect himself, the jury deliberated that he had a deadly right. I dont agree with him shooting Trayvon, it should have been handled differently, but anyone else that was attacked could have made the same decision.