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.

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Comments

  • Beckie

    Wonder what the tax payer bill is now. Geez....special prosecutors, judges, hearings, supreme court, cost of transcripts, odc, .....wow...into the thousands and we, the taxpayers are footing this bill for this prosecutor. Anybody keeping track of this?

  • WVULaw73

    The reporter needs to do some more research. It's not just "domestic violence" cases he's banned from. His office is banned from proseucting all abuse and neglect cases, which are not criminal and are sealed proceedings generally brought in Circuit court by the DHHR and prosecutors, as well as domestic violence protective order cases and any other criminal charges, misdemeanors or felonies, brought against a parent charged criminally with abusing or neglecting a child. There are hundreds of abuse and neglect cases pending in every circuit around this state and no one knows about them unless you're involved in one or work for the Court b/c they're sealed. His removal from these cases is a huge deal. The special prosecutors appointed with have hundreds of cases to deal with.

  • not N Charleston

    This is just absurd! He's a county official & will only be banned from city of Charleston?
    I object!! Let's pretend he follows the order in Charleston why aren't the residents of South Charleston, Marmet, etc. not given the same
    consideration?? Again, he's a COUNTY official NOT a City employee. Unfair!!

    • Because

      Because Charleston is the only city/police dept to file such a request.

      If Dunbar, South Charleston, Marmet, etc want the same type of deal, they need to make the request.

      My guess is....now that it was ruled this way for Charleston, more cities will follow.

      • not N Charleston

        I doubt the other cities will subject the tax payers to more 'court costs'. I appreciate your answer but it's a no brainer! We'll just wait for the supreme court ruling. Thanks County & Circuit court for thinking about "ALL" of the children of Kanawha.... We will remember!!

        • All for one

          Actually, I believe the order applies county wide.

          It would certainly be easier to administer based on the type of the case rather than police department investigating the matter.

  • Aaron

    I've got 20 dollars to a Tim Horton's tractor tire doughnut that says despite this reasonable order, Mr. Plants will STILL not do what is right for this office and voluntarily step aside.

    • No action here

      He "agreed" to this order like he did the Family Court order (supervised visits, anger management, paying everyone's legal fees etc) . I'm now waiting for him to spin it as a victory.