Prosecutor Mark Plants Entering New Deal to Drop Charges

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A new deal is on the table for Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants, who's still facing two misdemeanor charges.

Those charges can be dropped if he successfully completes a 32-week program. The agreement was made in court on Tuesday morning.

“I'm happy the charges are gonna be dismissed. It's in a shorter amount of time. I'm very satisfied with that,” Plants said.

Arrested twice, Plants is accused of excessively disciplining his son with a belt and violating the order to stay away from his kids and his ex-wife.

Now, Plants must enter BIPPS (batterer’s intervention and prevention program).

“It's a program designed to change attitudes and behaviors to prevent something like this from happening again,” Sid Bell, the special prosecutor in Plants’ case, said.

So for 32 weeks, Plants will take classes and remain under the supervision of Putnam County's day report staff.

It also means about eight more months of public dollars being spent on a special prosecutor who’s handling all Kanawha County cases similar to Plants’ case. This costs the county an additional $200 an hour.

“We'll be into the year 2015, and we'll still be paying for a special prosecutor,” Kanawha County commissioner Dave Hardy said.

Because of the cost, Hardy asked Plants to resign.

Last time Plants was in court, he said “If they're dismissed in a short amount of time, then it will work out for me. I have no intention of sticking around for years costing the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a taxpayer, I’m appalled by that.”

“Off the top of my head, I’d say it'll be at least $150,000 to $200,000, and that's being very optimistic,” Hardy said.

Meanwhile, county commission president Kent Carper says it will cost taxpayers a minimum of $200,000 to $300,000.

At Tuesday’s hearing, WSAZ asked Plants if he plans to remain as prosecutor. He replied, “Absolutely, absolutely. The charges are going to be dismissed, and I’ll move forward and do the job I was elected to do.”

Plants has an initial meeting at the day report program Thursday to decide when he can start the program and what he'll have to do.

Then in late August, there will be a compliance hearing to check on how it's going.

However, Putnam County's prosecutor says they were just contacted about this today, and an agreement hasn't even been made yet about allowing Plants into the program. They still have to review it and make sure it's legal.

While in this program, Plants cannot have any contact whatsoever with his ex-wife.

If he does not complete it successfully, trials will be scheduled.

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