CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The president of the Kanawha County Commission says there’s no denying his county is in a “mess” because of the ongoing controversy surrounding Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants.
However, Kent Carper is not joining the calls for Plants — who was charged with two misdemeanor crimes — to resign from his elected office.
“I do not stand in support of the mess that we’re in. I do not stand in personal support of some of the decisions that he made. Why should I?” asked Carper on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
“But that’s not the issue. It isn’t my place to go around asking people to resign. I’ve never done that before because I really just think that’s up to the citizens, the voters.”
Earlier this week, Dave Hardy, another member of the Kanawha County Commission, did publicly call for Plants’ resignation — citing the ongoing distractions in Kanawha County and growing costs of the special prosecutors who are handling the cases similar to Plants’ to avoid possible conflicts.
“I don’t see it ending quickly and don’t see it ending very well,” Hardy said of the situation.
Plants was charged with domestic battery for allegedly striking his oldest son with a belt hard enough to leave a bruise and with violating the domestic protective order his ex-wife had secured. Last week, all parties agreed to a pre-trial diversion agreement that would have lead to the charges against Plants being dismissed within a year if he met certain requirements.
There are questions now about the validity of that pre-trial diversion agreement since that option is usually not one in domestic cases.
Members of the Kanawha County Commission will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to talk about the county’s next steps following a full analysis of a decision the state Supreme Court issued Wednesday. The Court said a temporary suspension of Plants’ law license was not warranted now since there have been no resolutions for the criminal cases.
“Let all of the allegations run their course and if there are convictions then, in terms of discipline, you would have, I think, a much stronger position,” said Chief Justice Robin Davis of the suspension recommendation from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.
The Court did say “the proceedings against the Respondent (Plants) should continue toward resolution as expeditiously as possible.”
“There was a battle, there was a skirmish in the war and whether or not that was a victory for either side, that’s today, this thing rages on and it’s costing the taxpayers of this state and county a fortune,” Carper said.
There have been no comments from Plants or his attorney on this week’s developments.