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.

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  • William Glasser

    What normally happens to person who admits to violating a domestic violence protection order ? Certainly, by this time there would normally be a disposition. Why not in this case ?

  • Editor

    Editorial: It is past time for Kanawha prosecutor to go

  • Tim St. Albans

    Mr. Carper needs to back off, this issue was silly to begin with. Ex-Spouse trying to create problems, real simple. Carper is set to destroy Kanawha County and West Virginia. He has ran Bayer Chemical out of town if up to him we would have no industry. But you can bet our taxes would continue to increase every year. Some people don't understand with out industry our tax base is really placed on us.

    • RexCraigo

      No, he doesn't. Plants DID beat his child. He's lied and flaunted his position.

      He needs to find a new job. Probably should work for the repuglican party.

    • Bully

      The ex-wife must be quite a consensus builder to get professionals from all over the state to join in the conspiracy to make life miserable for Plants, including, the special prosecutor from McDowell county; the state troopers from Wheeling and Charleston; the family law judge and guardian ad litem from Huntington; judge Kelly from Charleston; the office of disciplinary counsel in Charleston; CPS in Charleston; Judge Bloom; the justices of the supreme court; the members of the Kanawha County Commission and let's not forget Plants himself who agreed to Bloom's Order which resulted in the $30k per month special prosecutor in Charleston, as well as, to give up "his day in court" to enter into the Batterers Intervention Program in Putnam County.

      The facts of this case must have been a sufficient enough bully to make Plants run.

      • Renee

        No doubt! If anything it seems she faced difficulty in pursuing help from the beginning! He is not above the law. I am all for using discipline, even with a belt, but when before the judge Plants stammered about how many times he lashed at his son, arriving at about ten times, perhaps with the wrong end of it. He was obviously lacking self control if he couldn't say for certain. Then to violate a DVP, shows he was still lacking self control. This entire mess is the result of his lack of being able to control himself. Not only has it cost the taxpayers, but offenders since then have asked for the "Plants defense". This is setting a precedence causing disruption in the judicial system. I feel bad for him, he cannot turn back the clock, but to keep fighting and now attacking anyone who isn't fond of his mess shows further lack of self control and it's really making a mess for all involved.

  • any major dude

    So what if Carper was praising Plants for regional jail bills? So what?

  • Chris

    Let's not forget that Carper was praising Plants the past few years for saving the county hundreds of thousands on the regional jail bills.

  • Maxeer

    Good gosh!!!..will this dude EVER go away...

  • Judge Judy

    I would wipe that smirk off your face. Violating a domestic violence protection order should cost you your law license. The belt beating disgusts me but that is not against the law. The DVP violation is and you should pay for that to the full extent of the law.

  • any major dude

    Seems like some people want to blame the KC commissioners or Mr. Morris or Mr. Brown or anybody else for this mess. Seems like Mr. Plants is the one who should be blamed here. If he hadn't done wrong, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

  • thornton

    If Plants is sitting on the curb soon there is always the option of hat modeling.
    So, I choose not to worry about him....perhaps because I do not see any bruises.
    Egos don't count.

  • Jim

    The state legislature could end this problem, now. Pass a law that says you can spank your kid, and put in clear guidelines so that completely normal parental discipline, like hitting a kid with a belt, can't be used by vengeful jealous ex-spouses to create needless legal problems.

    • Drama Queen Conservative Troll

      Hitting a child with a belt is not completely normal parental discipline. It is extreme.

      • Silas Lynch

        If you feel that way then by all means, do not punish your child that way.

  • Moe

    The sooner Uncle Fester is gone, the better.

  • David

    Here's my problem with political parties.
    The Republican Party should tell him to resign from his job or from the party and if he refused kick him out!

    This is why I am unaffiliated with any party.

  • zero tolerance

    It seems the biggest scam in all of this is the rate at which the special prosecutor is being paid.

    And if I remember correctly when an alternative was attempted to be presented, the judiciary nearly threw them out of court for meddling.

    • Esquire

      Plants wants us to discuss rates. If he resigns, it all becomes academic. Keep your eye on the ball.

      • zero tolerance

        Team Carper/Hardy's entire argument has been about rates and cost to the county, NOT conduct issues.

        Who wants who to focus on rates?

        • Esq.

          The commission is rightfully concerned with cost and Plants inability to do his job. Remember, Plants AGREED to Blooms order.

          Plants has made red herring arguments, like Morris should be paid the court appointed rate ($60 per hour) when it is his practice (and the commissions practice to hire outside counsel at rates of $200 per hour +/-).

          • zero tolerance

            I guess what I am getting at is the whole thing stinks with all parties involved because its rooted in dirty politics while the tax payer gets left holding the bag. There is no innocent bystander in this fiasco except the tax payer.

            Kanawha County citizens are paying for a public servants to play a high stakes game of chess.

            PS: I agree with your comments

    • Esquire

      Plants office pays a similar rate when it hires outside counsel. I'm sure the Philadelphia lawyer we paid to represent him before the Supreme Court was paid a much higher rate.

      • Grossly Excessive

        With all of the news about the cost of special prosecutors in relation to Plants' office, Eyewitness News asked attorney Johnnie Brown how much he's being paid to represent the office in this matter.

        Brown said his compensation is $175 per hour.

  • Silas Lynch

    Kent Carper is a lawyer, "Civic" minded AND already an elected official of Kanawha County.. Why can't HE lighten the burden on the tax payer and step in and do the job for free or at least a more reasonable rate...

    Come on Kent, instead of pouring County tax dollars into sponsoring "Multifest", a City of Charleston block party, why not do the noble thing for a change.

  • Bill

    Plants well reasoned response to the Commission action:

    "All I want is my day in Court. Kent Carper and Dave Hardy are true politicians who lack integrity and character. They are political bullies who pounce on anyone who stands up to them- well I don't run away from bullies. We will fight this in court and the Commission will continue to waste more money on a cause they've already admitted that they will likely lose.

    Instead of trying to play dirty politics why doesn't the Commission request that the WV Prosecutors Institute handle this conflict for free as is customary? Or perhaps reduce Don Morris' hourly rate down from $200/hr? This isn't about saving tax dollars- it's dirty politics- which is business as usual for Kent Carper. "

    • Silas Lynch

      Mark Plants for County Commissioner