Kanawha family judge arrested, accused of battery

By Lawrence Smith | Nov 8, 2013

Charleston Area Medical Center

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha family law judge faces criminal charges for mistreating a nurse while visiting a friend in the hospital.

D. Mark Snyder was arrested and charged with battery following an altercation with Stephanie King on Nov. 4 at Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Division. He is accused of grabbing King and forcing her into a room where a friend was staying when he became dissatisfied with the treatment the friend was receiving.

According to the criminal complaint filed by Charleston Police Department Patrolman E.J. Tipton, Snyder came to CAMC at a unspecified time to visit a friend whose name is not disclosed. At an unspecified time, Snyder approached King, who was standing outside the nurse’s station, to inquire why his friend “was not being cared for.”

Also, Snyder requested King provide the friend “medication and make up his bed.”

When King said she would talk with the friend, the complaint alleges Snyder then “grabbed her by the upper left arm and attempted to pull [her] down the hallway towards the patient’s room.” Shortly after, he grabbed her, and King says she jerked away and asked for the charge nurse to speak with Snyder.

According to the complaint, after turning around, King says Snyder began wagging one of his fingers in her face while accusing her of not providing care for his friend. After he refused the requests by both King and the charge nurse to leave, Snyder was escorted out of the hospital by security.

After both the friend, and Daniel Jackson, one of the security guards, identified him, Snyder was taken to Kanawha Magistrate Court, arraigned and released on his own recognizance. The case is assigned to Magistrate Jack Pauley.

Steven D. Canterbury, director of the state Supreme Court’s administrative office, confirmed he filed an extraordinary complaint against Snyder with the Judicial Investigation Commission the next day. In response to his complaint, Canterbury said Teresa Tarr, JIC’s counsel, in the next 10 days will recommend actions the court take against Snyder.

In the meantime, he said Snyder will continue to hear cases.

Snyder is one of the four original family law judges appointed in Kanawha County following approval of a constitutional amendment in 2000 creating the positions as part of a unified judicial system. Prior to passage of the amendment, domestic cases were heard by family law masters and attorneys in private practice, who would make recommendations to the circuit judges.

In the 2008 Democratic primary, Snyder beat back a challenge from Charleston attorney Greg Elliott and Darlene Ratliff-Thomas, then an assistant attorney general who served as a lawmaster from 1994-2001. He had no Republican opposition in the general election.

Like all family law judges, Snyder is up for re-election in 2016.

Kanawha Magistrate Court case number 13-M-7761

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