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Kanawha Prosecutor's Office Proposes Way To Reduce Special Prosecutor Cost

Reported: May. 29, 2014 11:33 AM EDT
Updated: May. 29, 2014 6:25 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Bob Aaron) –- The Kanawha County Prosecutor’s Office is proposing a way to reduce the cost of the special prosecutor that is handling domestic violence cases in the county.

The prosecutor’s office has been banned from hundreds of domestic violence cases because of the conflict from Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants’ domestic battery arrest. Special Prosecutor Don Morris is handling many of those cases at $200 an hour. The motion recommends that additional special prosecutor would come from the ranks of the senior felony trial attorneys in the prosecutor's office. The motion said by comparison, court-appointed attorneys are paid a rate of $45 per hour for out-of-court services, and $65 per hour for in-court services.

Under the proposal by the prosecutor's office, there would be four special prosecutors, all doing the day-to-day handling of cases, but reporting to Morris, the chief special prosecutor, for supervision. The motion said "the added cost to taxpayers under this scenario would be minimal in comparison as the chief special prosecutor would no longer be forced to personally handle the felony matters, and could limit his responsibilities to supervisory functions, which would likely consist of only a few hours per week."

The motion said Morris can rack up a $300,000 bill in the year Plant's legal issues could remain. Kanawha County Commissioner Dave Hardy wants Plants to resign now that the Supreme Court has decided not to pull his law license and may try to have him removed from office.

Both the prosecutor's office and the city of Charleston have not moved from their agreement that Plants has a conflict in certain domestic cases. A judge ordered the appointment of the special prosecutor, but the county commission worked out financial arrangements with Morris.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Duke Bloom will hear the prosecutor's office motion from 10:30 a.m. June 5.

-- MGN Online/Wiki Commons Photo



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