Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 24, 2014

Kanawha prosecutor barred from child abuse cases


Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Special prosecutors are being installed to handle child abuse cases in Kanawha County.

The action comes after Circuit Judge Duke Bloom disqualified prosecutor Mark Plants and his staff from handling such cases. Bloom will swear in special prosecutors Thursday morning.

Plants is charged with domestic battery for allegedly hitting one of his sons more than 10 times with a leather belt. He has argued in court papers that he was acting within a constitutionally protected right to protect his child.

In Wednesday’s order, Bloom bars Plants and his office from handling cases involving crimes of violence by a parent or guardian, abuse and neglect cases, and violations of domestic violence protection orders.

The West Virginia Supreme Court has set a May 5 hearing on whether to suspend Plants’ law license.