Ashton Marra Published

Supreme Court to Decide if Prosecutor Should Keep Law License


The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals heard arguments Monday over whether to temporarily revoke the law license of a county prosecutor charged with domestic battery.

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants is facing the misdemeanor charge after State Police say he hit his step-son multiple times with a leather belt in February, leaving bruises.

The state Office of Disciplinary Counsel alleges Plants’ license should be revoked until his criminal proceedings are completed because he has violated ethics rules.  

Attorney for the office Joanne Kirby also said during the proceeding Plants’ is defending himself by asserting a statute preventing him from whipping his children is unconstitutional.

“He has essentially asserted that all criminal law of the state of West Virginia is unconstitutional,” Kirby told the court.

“He cannot be serving as the prosecuting attorney tasked with upholding and prosecuting the laws of the state of West Virginia when his own interests materially limit those of his client.”

Plants’ attorney Robert Davis maintained there is no precedent to remove the license of a prosecutor without a conviction and said it would be “extraordinarily disruptive” to the county’s system.

The court has given no timeline on how long it may take them to reach a decision.

Last month, Kanawha County Circuit Judge Duke Bloom ordered Plants and members of his office to no longer handle cases of abuse and neglect for children because of a conflict of interest and appointed a special prosecutor.