CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission voted Tuesday to set aside at least $50,000 and as much as $100,000 to pay for the special prosecutor appointed to handle domestic violence related cases in connection with the Mark Plants controversy.
County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom appointed retired prosecutor Don Morris and three assistant prosecutors to form a team to handle the cases while Plants, the elected Kanawha County prosecutor, waits out two misdemeanor charges that have to do with the alleged violation of a protective order and domestic battery.
“The work of the prosecutor’s office has to proceed whether it’s done by Mr. Plants or done on an interim basis by someone else, the work they do is very important,” Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy said.
Judge Bloom ruled that Morris is to be paid $200-an-hour. The assistants are already on the county payroll.
“The cost is expensive,” Hardy said. “We went ahead and set aside at least 50-thousand dollars but we actually have 100-thousand dollars in a contingency fund to use if we need to.”
Plants is fighting the misdemeanor charges. He’s also awaiting a ruling from the state Supreme Court on whether his law license will be suspended for a period of time.
Commissioner Hardy said the county commission is committed to paying the special prosecutor to handle other domestic cases.
“I hope we don’t need to spend that much money on this issue but we will do whatever it takes until we get a clarification from the Supreme Court on the status of Mark Plants,” Hardy said.