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Plants Hearing Goes Before W.Va. Supreme Court

Reported: May. 5, 2014 6:16 PM EDT
Updated: May. 5, 2014 6:26 PM EDT
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The Office of Disciplinary Counsel says Mark Plants' involvement in a domestic violence case warrants the suspension of his license because he's violated ethical standards and he's hurting public perception of the prosecutor's office.

"We believe it is appropriate for this court to temporarily suspend respondent's law license because he has in fact committed a violation of 1.7b of the West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct," Joanne Vella Kirby, lawyer with the O.D.C. said. "And further, he poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public."

However, the justices seemed reluctant to take that step as they aggressively questioned the O.D.C.'s lawyer.

"You're asking though for the court to step in and take the rather extraordinary measure of suspending the lawyer's license prior to the continuation and fruition of these ethical violation allegation hearings," Justice Margaret Workman said.

"If I accept your position and I'm an armed robber and they're gonna prosecute me and there's a good prosecutor up in Wheeling. Then all I've got to do to take him off the case is swear out a warrant for the prosecutor. It's the same analogy," Justice Menis Ketchum said.

Plants' lawyer says there is no evidence that the prosecutor has committed any ethical violations, and that the facts on the record justify Plants keeping his license and his office.

"There's no evidence in there that Mark has done anything to influence one case," Robert Davis, Plants' attorney said. "How can you find that he is violating Rule 1.7? There's no evidence of that."

The justices did not indicate when they would release a decision. However, the court has previously said matters involving Plants should be handled as quickly as possible.



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