UPDATE: Kanawha County prosecutor proposes plan to offset cost o - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Kanawha County prosecutor proposes plan to offset cost of special prosecutors

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CHARLESTON, WV - UPDATE:

Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Plants presented a plan on June 3 to help save money on special prosecutors appointed because of his ongoing legal battles.  This proposal comes on the heels of a Kanawha County Commission meeting requesting access to money in the drug forfeiture fund controlled by the prosecuting attorney's office.

In a release from Plants’ office, he proposed that $75,000 be taken from the drug forfeiture fund and be used to offset the cost of the special prosecutors. In addition to the money from the drug forfeiture fund, Plants said he will waive an $11,592 raise and reduce the office’s general budget by $25,000.

The Kanawha County Commission requested the use of drug forfeiture funds in a meeting on the morning of June. 3.

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ORIGINAL:

The Kanawha County Commission called a special meeting Tuesday morning to address the ongoing controversy surrounding Prosecutor Mark Plants and the growing financial burden from paying special prosecutors.

Kanawha County Commissioners say they were disappointed nobody from the Prosecutor’s Office came to the meeting after numerous invitations were sent to the office.

“It was really a slap in the face to the taxpayers that they wouldn’t send someone over here and explain their concern about the bills,” said Carper.

During the meeting, President Kent Carper asked for money from the Prosecutor’s Office drug forfeiture account to be used to help pay for the special prosecutors. The account contains approximately $79,000 in public funds.

“I don’t want to see the money spent at all, but bills have to be paid,” said Carper.

Mark Plants and his office were disqualified from handling cases involving domestic battery or domestic violence petitions earlier this year. A judge put that order in place after the prosecutor was charged with two domestic misdemeanors.

(BACKGROUND: Special prosecutor appointed for Kanawha County, WV)

Plants is currently in a pre-trial diversion program as part of a court agreement. Under the deal, if Plants meets certain guidelines, the charges could be dismissed after a year. Commissioners say that means the county could pay up to $300,000 for special prosecutors.

Don Morris is currently being paid $200 an hour to handle these cases, but Plants’ office filed a motion last week, calling the amount “grossly excessive.” Morris filed a motion of his own in response, asking the judge not to cut back his hours and that the prosecutor’s office has no authority over such matters.

“Mr. Morris did not ask for this position, he was appointed by the court,” said Carper. “[The Prosecutor’s Office] complained that Mr. Morris was somehow doing something wrong by being paid to do their job, I do take offense to that.”