CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The petition the Kanawha County Commission will file with the state Supreme Court, asking for the removal of Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants from office, could be finalized by next month.
On Thursday night, the Commission voted unanimously to take that step as Plants continues to deal with his own misdemeanor charges of domestic battery for allegedly disciplining his son with a belt along and violating a protective order.
Kent Carper, Kanawha County Commission president, said it’s a move he’s making reluctantly. “I don’t want to remove Plants. I don’t want to get engaged in this. I’ve avoided it for several months,” he said on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
In an attempt to resolve the charges, Plants recently agreed to be part of a batterers intervention course in Putnam County. That course lasts 32 weeks.
An appointed special prosecutor with assistant prosecutors and other support staff have been handling the cases Plants cannot because of possible conflicts while his own domestic charges are pending.
Up to this point, Kanawha County has paid $92,000 for the special prosecutor’s office. By the end of the intervention course for Plants, the special prosecutor bills could total an estimated $240,000.
“This is a tremendous amount of money, plus it’s just not right and it’s causing trouble,” Carper said of the controversy surrounding Plants.
In comments to The Charleston Gazette, Plants called Carper and Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy “political bullies” and said all he wants is “his day in court.” He said the county should seek assistance with the domestic cases from the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. That help, Plants argued, would cost the county nothing.
The next meeting of the Kanawha County Commission is scheduled for Aug. 14. The petition could be finalized at that point.
Once a petition for removal is filed, the state Supreme Court will appoint a three-judge panel to hear evidence in the case and determine if Plants will stay in his elected position.