CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission voted Thursday night to begin removal proceedings against elected Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants due to the ongoing costs of special prosecutors.
Commission President Kent Carper and commissioners Dave Hardy and Hoppy Shores voted unanimously to seek the filing of a petition with the state Supreme Court which would then appoint a three-judge panel to hear the case.
The county has already paid $93,000 for special prosecutors because Plants is still charged with two domestic-related misdemeanor crimes for allegedly violating a domestic violence protective order filed by his ex-wife and a domestic battery charge in connection with using a belt to discipline one of his sons. A special prosecutor is handing domestic violence cases for Plants’ office because of a conflict of interest.
Plants is seeking to have the changes against him dismissed. He signed up for a 32-week batterers intervention program in Putnam County last week but county commissioners said the county shouldn’t be stuck with paying special prosecutors for that long with a bill that could reach close to $250,000.
Commissioner Hardy has been calling for Plants to resign for several weeks but the two-term Republican has given no indication he will do so.
The commission will have to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence to the three-judge panel that Plants should be removed from his elected position. Hardy told MetroNews Wednesday it’s a high standard to meet.
“There is a very, very high presumption that once a person is elected to an office they should be allowed to finish out the term. In other words, the public is the ultimate decider of who is in an office,” Hardy said.