County Commission Attorney Melissa Foster Bird

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission voted unanimously Thursday night to file a petition with the state Supreme Court to remove elected county prosecutor Mark Plants from office.

The commission’s unanimous vote came after an explanation of a 24-page petition by the commission’s attorney Melissa Foster Bird. 

Jeff Jenkins/MetroNews

The Kanawha County Commission voted unanimously to sign the removal petition.

“He has committed malfeasance in office, misconduct in office. He has violated court orders which were in place to protect innocent victims,” she said.

The petition focuses on Plants’ inability to prosecute domestic violence cases because he’s been charged with two domestic-related misdemeanors. The county is paying the office of a special prosecutor approximately $1,000 a day to handle those cases. Foster Bird told the commission Plants cannot do what he was elected to do.

(Read petition here)

“When it’s all put together, when the pieces of the facts and the law are all put together in one puzzle–I think the petition makes it clear that a removal action is both warranted and necessary,” she said.

The petition is expected to be filed with the state Supreme Court Friday morning. The court will then appoint a three-judge panel to consider the case.

Commissioner Dave Hardy said he was convinced the county had a strong case when reviewing a case from a few years ago against a Logan County prosecutor who was removed from office without being convicted of a crime. Hardy said there is currently a fatal flaw in the performance of Plants as prosecutor.

“As we stand here today he cannot perform the duties of his office and there’s no end of this in sight,” Hardy said.

Commission President Kent Carper said he ultimately determined enough was enough.

“This has to end. That’s what did it for me. It has to come to an end,” Carper said.

Plants, who did not attend the meeting, has previously said he will fight the removal attempt. He has called Carper and Hardy “political bullies” and said he wants his day in court. Plants maintains he has come up with money in his own budget to help pay for the special prosecutor and he’s saved the county thousands of dollars in other ways in his nearly six years as prosecutor.

Meanwhile, Plants is scheduled to be in Princeton Friday for a hearing on the two criminal charges. He said earlier this week he wants to back out of a pretrial diversion agreement and take the cases to trial.

City of Charleston domestic violence victims’ advocate Kim Eagle urged the commission to do the right thing Thursday night. She said she believes there are domestic violence victims who are currently not coming forward because of the uncertainty created by the Plants situation.

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Comments

  • Jack D

    After this mess is resolved, Carper should be removed from office for being the arrogant, pompous, incompetent village idiot he is.

  • Monday morning

    This whole mess could have been avoided if Plants would have kept his mouth shut; admitted he went to far; and, asked for forgiveness.

    Press conferences, media releases and talk show appearances have been his undoing. Not to mention legal pleadings acknowledging paternity, asserting he did nothing wrong and attacking his accusers (victim, ODC and county commission - not to mention the special prosecutor).

    Plants has no one to blame but himself. This is a self inflicted wound.

  • cutty77

    Don't be suprised if The Supreme Court turns this down,they don't like to get involved with these kind of messes,because the people voted Plants in,and they want the people to vote him out.

    • ODC

      I agree, but he has given them plenty to work with.

      At oral argument over his law license, several justices made unfavorable remarks about his public comments.

  • Amy S

    I am familiar of both parties in this matter and I believe that this is a bad situation that just keeps getting worse with the public poking at it, I DO NOT agree with Mr. Plants method of punishment nor do I agree with the former Ms. Plants choice of retaliation. We only see what the press wants us to see and I too believe that it is a bit of a political motivation that has pushed this far, just as of a few weeks ago, right before the JA incident, Ms. Plants had no problem with her children being with their father and his current wife alone, I have seen them a happy family out together and why if he is such a bad guy why would she allow that, because she knows that he truly would not harm his children and nor would she, she is a great mother and done what any good parent would have done to protect her child, but unfortunately the public is way to involved, and before anyone says that I have forgot about the belt marks left, no I didn't, but as a parent we too make mistakes that we are not proud of but are we not entitled to a chance to make up for our mistakes, and if you had seen your children in a car alone would you walked right by them, I know as a mother I would not and I certainly would not care if the president himself said I could not talk to my children. I know that former Ms. Plants is a great mother and truly loves and is 100% involved, I think she let her emotions lead her, and I do believe that Mr. Plants and her are still feeling their way through this new dynamic of their lives and they have hit some really bad patches, and all the Plants involved need to do whatever they can to make this transaction smooth for all the kids involved and the public needs to let them have the privacy for the sake of all the kids involved (you know the kids that the public claims they want to protect). I know from personal experience that the kids are the only ones that matter here and all the adults need to put on a united front and realize that the kids are lucky to have so many people that are around to love them, and if your not careful you are going to have the courts deciding every aspect of your parenting and once they are involved its hard to get them out.

  • crazy

    All this money being spent and wasted over a butt woopen could have been 2 full time jobs saved to the people who have lost there jobs.

  • Maillady

    I was told that the former Mrs Plants' attorney is the guy Mark Plants beat in the election. If that's the case, then it obviously is political and revenge motivated.

    • Aaron

      Was it politics and revenge that motivated Plants to break the law in violating a restraining order?

  • Pats fan

    Sounds to me that Mr. plants was set up now it backfired on them hit them where it hurt their MONEY!! The county commission is SWEATING!!! Is it getting a little hot boys and girls??

    • Aaron

      Set up? You can't be serious?

      • Pats fan

        Kids left alone in a dark parking lot!! You must be affiliated with the county commission? Keep drinking the cool aid! Next it will be their turn to be voted out of office it sounds like to me.

        • thornton

          Dadgum, dern-blasted kids today...throwin' themselves in front of a belt buckle.

          Oh well, maybe they will grow up, attend WVU, play at football, develop an attitude of ME, court blind eyes to bad decisions and actions and...oh wait, that's not a good thing.

        • Aaron

          That's the biggest load of garbage I've read regarding this individual. If he was concerned for his children, he would have obeyed the law and either got a store clerk to come outside and wait on the mother, waited in his car until she came out and left of called law enforcement to come to the scene and waited on them in his car.

          He did none of the 3. He BROKE THE LAW and in doing so showed his true motive, which was to confront his ex-wife and/or children. That's what the experts would say because that's what batterers and bullies do. How many people did Plants prosecute for doing the EXACT same thing he did telling the same tired lies he is telling?

          The only thing more pathetic than this mans actions are those who blindly and ignorantly defend him.

          • Aaron

            One has been bested in a conversation when they have to resort to immature comments. Seems the only one asking to set free from time out is Mr. Plants but the magistrate said no to him and is forcing him to stick to his plea arrangement when he admitted guilt.

          • Pats fan

            You guys need to ask your mommy to let you out of time out and stop wetting your pants! Give it time the Commissioners will fall too!

          • Jason412

            +1 to Aaron. Unbelievable anyone could believe he was "set up"

            The way Plants has tried to circumvent the law after his original criminal charges just goes to show even if he was innocent of his original charges he has no regard for the law when it benefits him. He shouldn't only lose his job if convicted he should serve time, lose his gun rights like others convicted of domestic violence, and not be able to get it expunged from his record.

          • Aaron

            If it was a set up then doesn't that make Mr. Plants the stupid one for falling for it given his position and the thousands of excuses he hears daily as to why bullies break the law in violating DVP's!!!

          • Get it str8

            Don't forget he also used the opportunity to try to influence the children's testimony.

            He wasn't concerned for their well being. What he said when he was there (i spanked you like i always do - your mother can make this all go away) does not support the notion. He is an opportunist.

          • Pats fan

            Law or no law if my kids were left alone in a dark parking lot I would have done the same thing I guess you don't have kids of your own? The way it sounds the police were right across the street waiting for this to happen! SETUP!! If he was crying it was probably happy tears of knowing his support is starting to GROW across the state and the politicians are starting to SWEAT!!

          • Aaron

            I'm sorry, his ex-wife.

          • Aaron

            His children were in no danger, they were setting in a car at 7:00 in the evening in a lit parking lot and he broke the law when he approached and conversed with them. It is that simple.

            He showed his true motivation when he then argued with his wife. Only a jury of complete idiots would find him innocent of that charge.

          • Do what?

            Eat crow? The dude was crying in magistrate court this morning.

          • Pats fan

            Yeah that's the first thing I would do go try to find a store clerk??? Like I said set up! Sounds to me like political figures and ex wife tried to strong arm him and he's making them eat crow!! Backfired on them!! Grow up and move out of your mommy's basement!

  • sherry lynn

    Witch hunt? Seriously?
    You are right. Plants did annoy some people. The son he hit with a belt. The former wife whose restraining order he violated.
    The taxpayers when he doubled his lover's salary in in a couple of years. She was his secretary. She was also married.
    Now she and Plants are married. Sounds like they so richly deserve one another.
    The man needs to be removed from office. His career is over

  • firegoat

    It's a witch hunt.
    He must have made someone really mad by not playing ball.