Mark Plants Files Response to ODC Recommendations

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants says he shouldn't be suspended or disqualified from prosecuting domestic-related cases.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel made the recommendations because Plants faces two misdemeanor charges. One was filed after police say he violated a domestic violence order and the other is a domestic battery charge after police say he used excessive force when disciplining his son.

In Plants' response to the State Supreme Court, he says the recommendations by the ODC are an overreach and premature.

The fallout from this case continues to have a domino effect in the court system.

Investigators of domestic battery cases are concerned there will be a backlog if something isn't done soon.

The Supreme Court hasn't made a ruling on the ODC's recommendations.

The city of Charleston also has filed a request with the circuit court to disqualify the entire Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney's Office from trying any cases involving domestic battery by a parent.

Charleston Police investigate nearly 1,000 cases of domestic violence every year. Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster says, if the Kanawha County Prosecutors Office were to try certain cases, there would be a conflict of interest.

"There's so many cases that are factually similar to what the prosecutor's accused of, we feel there's a great conflict and we have a great concern because of the similarities," Webster said.

Victim Specialist Kimberly Eagle says the recent problems in the prosecutors office are causing major concerns from victims.

"I am having lots of phone calls from folks, wondering, questioning, concerned over what's going on and how their case is going to be handled or continued or dismissed," Eagle said.

Investigators are worried cases will pile up.

Just last week, a special prosecutor from Putnam County was called in to try a case that's nearly the same as that of Plants.

"Because of our volume and our backlog, and our daily case load, we don't see how they're going to be able to keep up," Webster saids. "When you throw in a case load, when you throw in concerns, the system can sometimes be slow and it has to be deliberate, but this is an unnecessary conflict."

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday to rule on the City of Charleston's request.

Click on the link for more on the situation involving the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office.

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