UPDATE: Judicial Board Makes Recommendation for Kanawha Magistrate

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UPDATE 5/5/14 @ 5 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) --The Judicial Hearing Board made a recommendation for Kanawha County Magistrate Ward Harshbarger on Monday after an extraordinary complaint was filed against him.

After hearing testimony, the board recommended the Supreme Court take several actions against Harshbarger. They're asking he be publicly censured. Under the recommendation, Harshbarger will also have to pay $2,000 in fines.

He would also have to pay for the cost of the investigation, which is about $3,800.

The Judicial Hearing Board took suspension off the table, since he admitted to the allegations during the hearing Monday.

His attorney, Bill Forbes said, "He made a mistake on technical issues. He made a mistake on ethical issues and he knows that and when he talked about the case the next day to two police officers he understands he violated the rules and he never should have done it."

The Supreme Court will have to make a ruling on that recommendation.

There's no word on when that will happen.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/5/14 @ 12:00 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Supreme Court will soon review a case involving a Kanwaha County Magistrate facing ethics charges.

Magistrate Ward Harshbarger went before the Judicial Hearing Board after an extraordinary complaint was filed against him.

The complaint says that he didn't follow procedures and refused to grant a domestic violence petition. The DVP was requested by Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants' ex-wife.

Harshbarger's also accused of discussing the case which is supposed to be confidential.

During the hearing Monday, Harshbarger testified he thought he was helping Plants' ex-wife by telling her the DVP would be denied. He apologized saying now he knows he was wrong. He's also accused of talking about the DVP to a Dunbar Police Officer, who was not involved in the case. The officer was shown evidence in the case by Harshbarger's clerk.

Harshbarger faces a number of sanctions. However, the Judicial Hearing Board took suspension off the table: since he admitted to the allegations during the hearing Monday.

The Supreme Court will now review the case and determine if a sanction needs to be issued.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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