CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office is asking a judge to appoint another special prosecutor to cut down on costs of a current special prosecutor handling domestic violence-related cases.

The motion, filed Thursday, asks the court to consider someone already on staff in Prosecutor Mark Plants’ office as a remedy to the costs of current special prosecutor Don Morris.

Morris is being paid $200-an-hour to handle felony domestic violence cases and supervise three other prosecutors who are handling misdemeanor cases. Those assistant prosecutors were previously on the county’s payroll.

The county commission has already been given a $24,000 bill for the special set-up that Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom ordered after Plants was taken off the cases because of the two misdemeanor domestic charges he faces himself.

The motion doesn’t ask Bloom to change his decision but simply add someone to assist Morris, the chief prosecutor. The motion said it would be a minimal cost compared to what Morris is doing now, which is handling all of the felony cases, including the legwork on those cases. It would place Morris in a more supervisory role causing him to work fewer hours.

Kanawha County commissioners said the cost for the special prosecutor could be as much as $300,000 in one year.

County Commissioner Dave Hardy said he would favor the proposal if it can be proven the work on domestic violence cases can been done effectively.

“I’m looking at any option that would reduce the cost but at the same time the work is very, very important,” Hardy said.

Plants is currently under a pretrial diversion agreement which would have the charges against him dropped in a year if he meets certain requirements but the legality of the agreement has now been questioned. A magistrate has scheduled a hearing for late June.

Earlier this week Hardy called on Plants to resign his position but he declined to speculate Thursday if the motion makes it look like Plants is not considering the option.

“I can’t speculate on that at all and I wouldn’t,” Hardy said. “I think that Mr. Plants has a lot of issues to work his way through. My job is to make sure the county’s budgeting process remains intact and secondly, more importantly, that the work of the prosecutor’s office continues on.”

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Comments

  • Aaron

    If Plants were worried about his office, he would have stepped aside.

  • Dealer

    Seriously? The Prosecutor is offering a deal?
    What a joke! I think he's the reason for all these double positions for the office HE should be busy at work. I'm sure he's still getting paid. Mark, why won't you pay for all these extra people on our dime? Bloom would have already done what Plants is offering IF there weren't conflicts.

    • Amanda

      Conflicts? How?

      • Dealer

        let me start by saying Plants is the defendant & now we've sunk soo low that we're desperate enough to take ADVICE
        from the one that created this?? Amanda
        I respect your opinion but are you aware that Plants last hearing is null & void & he was the biggest master mind behind that deal. Heck let's start letting the defendants hold court . Absurd!

        • Amanda

          Plants office is the one who filed the motion before Judge Bloom, no conflict there- they have to be the one to file it, no one else can.
          Not to mention that their motion is a great idea, why pay someone $200/hour, when they can provide free help. I applaud Mr. Plants' office for thinking of a way to help. As for the hearing and agreement I believe I read the quote correctly from Sid Bell that states that Mr. Plants will only need to agree to the new requirements and all will proceed. I believe this situation in its entirety is a shame. But I do believe that this has been completely blown out of proportion because of who he is. This county has thousands of misdemeanor Domestic Batteries a year and we never hear of them on the news and most certainly not for months on end, and I know those DB charges aren't over spankings, they are where actual physical harm is done that possibly requires medical attention. I support Mark Plants and hope he comes out victorious one way or another.

          • Dealer

            Ditto Aaron! Amanda, elected officials are held to a higher standard than commoners such as myself. I voted for Plants for both terms. personally he's a personable guy BUT he's made some huge mistakes & I'm not going to give him a pass b/c he is
            an elected official & I'm sick & tired of esp. those in power to be treated like royalty and imo, he's being very selfish, NOT putting his constituents FIRST and what's still getting my goat is the money trail that was quashed by
            Pros. Sid Bell!! I can only watch what happens but I'm a voter with a lot of followers & everyone is under a microscope in the way this is handled. I repeat I think Judge Bloom would've already hired an extra person from the get go. He DID allow three to help Morris so I end in saying IF he permits another underling to be added to take away from Morris I will re-evaluate my high opinion of his great judicial mind. There is NO
            logic left with Plants. It's all CYA!
            & that's for his betterment.

          • Aaron

            How many cases a year do we have of prosecutors breaking the law?

  • Who's The Judge

    This is absurd! I'm sure Bloom would've done this from the beginning IF there weren't conflicts of interest! Plants is showing desperation & wants as always to be the one in charge of these decisions that imo, he isn't
    the one to be calling ANY of these shots.

    He's the reason we're in this mess! poppycock!!

  • GWB

    $200/hour is outrageous. I have seven years of defense work/prosecuting experience and I would do it for less than half of that amount.

    • Aaron

      Reminds me of the old joke where a man ask a woman if she would have s** for $1 million dollars to which she says yes. He then ask her if she would for a dollar. When she ask the man what he thinks she is, he replies "We've established that, now we're just negotiating a price."

      I wonder, does your 8 years experience match the gentleman's currently doing the work?

      • GWB

        Am I retired with 27 years of experience? No. Have I prosecuted and defended a Hell of a lot of cases including felony and misdemeanor cases? Yes. Have I been on the receiving end of $45-$65/hour from the State for the last 4 years. Yes. Have I ever received $200 per hour from the state? Hardly.

        • GWB

          $45-$65 which is the statutory rate that every court appointed attorney in the state makes, regardless of the amount of experience they have. I have no idea where the $200/hour rate came from but NO attorney accepting court appointed work that I know makes that kind of money.

  • Amanda

    And there you have it! Come on Bloom do the right thing! Plants office is correct, he has offered a great fix!

  • Voter

    A resignation from Plants would be the best option.

  • Here Now

    Enough already. Time to go, Mr. Plants.