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Kanawha family court judge arrested on battery charge

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Kanawha Family Court judge was arrested on a battery charge after an incident at a local hospital where he was visiting a patient.

Mark Snyder, 61, was charged Monday night with battery on a health care provider after an incident at Charleston Area Medical Center's General Hospital.

Snyder had been visiting a patient on the fifth floor of the hospital when he approached nurse Stephanie King at the nurse's station, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.

The nurse told city police that Snyder asked her why the patient he was visiting wasn't being cared for and asked her to give the patient medication and make up the bed.

King told Snyder she would go talk to the patient but he allegedly then grabbed her by the arm and tried to pull her down the hall to the patient's room, the complaint said. She told police she jerked away and called for the charge nurse to come talk to him.

She said Snyder was standing in front of her, pointing his finger at her face and was very upset, the complaint said. King said Snyder was yelling at her and accusing her and hospital staff of not providing care for his friend, according to the document.

King told police that she and the charge nurse asked Snyder to leave several times but he refused. Hospital security escorted the judge out of the hospital.

Officer E.J. Tipton wrote in the complaint that King was visibly upset and crying when he spoke with her Monday evening.

The hospital had no more to say on the matter other than what was written in the criminal complaint, said Dale Witte, hospital spokesman. 

Tuesday, Supreme Court Administrator Steve Canterbury filed an extraordinary complaint against Snyder with the Judicial Investigation Commission, which will investigate the incident and give a recommendation to the Supreme Court on how to proceed. The commission has several days to make a recommendation.

"It's in their hands," Canterbury said. "They'll make a recommendation to the court and go from there."

He said Snyder has not been suspended and that only the Court could make that call. The judge will remain on the bench until then.

Canterbury said to his knowledge this is the first instance of a sitting family court judge being arrested. He didn't have any comment on the arrest itself.

The judge was not yet in his office Tuesday morning when a reporter tried to reach him. He was appointed as a family court judge in 2000 and formally elected to the position in 2002, according to Daily Mail archives.

He faces up to a year in jail and/or a $500 fine if convicted of the offense. Snyder was free Tuesday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.


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