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Disciplinary Rule Description Rather than Title Controls

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has held that “it is the content of what is contained under a title that is critical in most instances, not the title” of a prison disciplinary rule (DR). This ruling comes in the appeal of a dismissed habeas corpus petition challenging a DR for rape received by West Virginia state prisoner Jackie C. Snider.

Snider was taken to see a nurse at St. Mary’s Correctional Institution. During the visit, he asked the nurse why he experienced bleeding in his scrotum. Snider told the nurse he believed it occurred as a result of “choking his tube” in the shower. He then asked the nurse to have sex with him and “ran his hand over [her] breast.”

Snider was charged and convicted of a DR for rape. He challenged his DR conviction because no penetration had occurred. The Court held the rule prohibited a prisoner from attempting to physically force another person to submit to any sexual act, and Snider’s actions qualified under the rule. The trial court’s denial of habeas relief was affirmed. See: Snider v. Fox, 218 W.Va. 663, 627 S.E.2d 353 (W.Va. 2006).

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Related legal case

Snider v. Fox