Kanawha County Magistrate Faces Ethics Charges


A Kanawha County magistrate faces ethics charges stemming from his denial of a domestic violence petition against the county’s prosecutor.
The Judicial Investigation Commission alleges that Magistrate Ward Harshbarger violated several canons of the judicial code of conduct, including upholding the judiciary’s integrity and independence.

The commission made the charges public Tuesday.
A statement of the charges says prosecutor Mark Plants’ ex-wife, Allison Plants, sought the petition on Feb. 26. Harshbarger is accused of refusing to grant the petition without giving it a full and fair review.
The commission also says Harshbarger discussed the petition with police officers who weren’t involved in the case.
A woman who answered Harshbarger’s phone at magistrate court on Wednesday said there would be no comment.