- Associated Press - Monday, May 5, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The state Judicial Hearing Board has recommended a public censure, a $2,000 fine plus court costs for a Kanawha County magistrate who admits he mishandled a domestic violence petition against the county’s prosecutor.

The board forwarded its recommendation for sanctions against Magistrate Ward Harshbarger to the state Supreme Court on Monday.

The Judicial Investigation Commission accused Harshbarger of not following proper procedures and discussing the petition with police officers who weren’t involved in the case.

Media outlets report Harshbarger on Monday admitted to making mistakes when prosecutor Mark Plants’ ex-wife, Allison Plants, sought the petition on Feb. 26. Harshbarger told her he could either deny the petition and she could appeal to circuit court, or she could take it to a family court the next day for consideration.

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