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Court OKs sanctions against Kanawha magistrate

By

the associated press

In this file photo, Magistrate Ward Harshbarger prepares to leave the witness stand after testifying before the judicial hearing board. Charleston Daily Mail/Craig Cunningham 5/05/14

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Supreme Court has approved sanctions against a Kanawha County magistrate who admitted he mishandled a domestic violence petition.

The sanctions include public censure of Magistrate Ward Harshbarger and a $2,000 fine. Harshbarger also must pay $3,790 for the investigation’s cost.

The Charleston Gazette reports that the court issued its order late last month. The sanctions were recommended by the Judicial Investigation Commission.

The commission had accused Harshbarger of not following proper procedures and discussing the petition with police officers who weren’t involved in the case. The commission alleged that Harshbarger refused to grant the petition without giving it a full and fair review.

Kanawha County prosecutor Mark Plants’ ex-wife, Allison Plants, petitioned for a domestic violence protective order against him on Feb. 26.


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