CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury filed an extraordinary complaint against Kanawha County Magistrate Ward Harshbarger Thursday in connection with a case involving Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants.

Canterbury confirmed the complaint is in connection with a domestic violence case involving Plants and his ex-wife Allison Plants. Canterbury would not be more specific.

Allison Plants got an emergency protective order against her former husband last month from a Kanawha County Family Court judge. Since then, the state Supreme Court has appointed judges from outside Kanawha County to hear the case. A closed hearing is scheduled for March 21.

Canterbury’s complaint has been forwarded to the Judicial Investigation Commission which will investigate and forward information to the state Supreme Court.

“They have 10 days to report to the Court and then the Court will do what the Court decides to do depending on the investigation and what’s recommended and how they determine what they want,” Canterbury said.

The court administrator added it’s very unusual for him to file an extraordinary complaint against a court official. He said he’s only done it a handful of times during his nine years on the job.


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  • Independent View

    Plants appears to be performing a good job as prosecutor and he seems like a nice guy too. However, apparently, Ms. Plants' was able to convince a judge that there was sufficient evidence presented to issue a protective order against her ex-husband.
    So, Mr. Plants' should voluntarily place himself on administrative leave, with pay until this matter is settled. The cloud of suspicion hanging over his head and the prosecutor's office is detrimental to his and his office's credibility. It also erodes public trust in the office of prosecutor.