CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ranging from emotional to defiant, Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants said during a news conference Monday he has done nothing wrong by disciplining his son with a spanking.
Plants is charged with misdemeanor domestic battery for allegedly striking his 11-year-old son with a belt more than 10 times in February, a spanking that left a long bruise. His ex-wife, Allison Plants, filed a domestic protective order that prohibited the prosecutor from seeing his two sons. He violated that order last month and was arrested.
The state Office of Disciplinary Council called for Plants to be suspended late last week or that he and his staff disqualify themselves from hearing domestic violence cases involving children. The filing claimed Plants has violated the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct. The recommendation will be taken up by the state Supreme Court which could schedule a hearing or suspend Plants.
During the news conference Plants made it clear he does not intend to step down.
“If spanking was a crime, 75 percent of Kanawha County would be in jail,” he said.
Plants said he has had little contact with his children in the past seven weeks and should be considered innocent until proven guilty, just like anyone else charged with a crime and going through the justice system.
Plants also spoke about his record as Kanawha County prosecutor. He said the murder rate is down by 75 percent since he took office six years ago and that he has a more successful prosecution rate than previous prosecutors.
Plants took no questions from reporters.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones said the city planned to file a court action to keep Plants and his office from prosecuting any domestic violence cases. Jones said they are worried about appeals on those cases from defense attorneys.
“My police department is very uncomfortable right now. There’s not a lot of love loss their anyway,” Jones said. “Our case will rest on whatever the ruling is from the Supreme Court.”
There’s no word on when the Supreme Court will rule on the ODC’s recommendation.