CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants and his staff will no longer be allowed to handle domestic violence cases brought by the Charleston Police Department involving kids and family members.
In a 10-page ruling filed Wednesday, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom wrote, “It is in the public’s interest that child abuse and neglect, violent crimes against children by their parent, guardian, or custodian, and criminal violations of protective orders be prosecuted impartially without any appearance of impropriety.”
Bloom went on to write that, “For the sake of integrity of the legal system, the welfare of minors, and the public’s interest in the same,” the court should prohibit Plants and his office from hearing the cases to avoid the appearance of conflicts.
Dan Holstein, chief of staff for the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said the office would comply fully with the order.
The ruling comes in response to a petition Charleston city officials filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court after lawyers with the state Office of Disciplinary Counsel recommended to the state Supreme Court on Apr. 11 that Plants be suspended or disqualified from presiding over cases involving violence against children or similar cases.
Bloom heard arguments from both sides on Tuesday and the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing on the matter for May 5.
Plants is charged with domestic battery after his ex-wife filed a domestic violence petition alleging he beat his son with a belt. Plants maintains the punishment was one he and his ex-wife agreed upon in the past.