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Judge Caught Whipping Teen Returns to Bench

AUSTIN (CN) - The Texas Supreme Court lifted its suspension of a state judge who was videotaped whipping his disabled teenage daughter with a belt.

On Tuesday, the court approved an agreed motion filed by Aransas County Court at Law Judge William Adams and the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

The court suspended Adams in November 2011, weeks after his daughter Hillary Adams, 24, posted the video on YouTube.

She says she was 16 at the time and that the judge whipped her for illegally downloading music on her computer. The video has gone viral, with at least 7.2 million views, according to YouTube. A summary posted with the video states that Hillary suffers from ataxic cerebral palsy.

In September, the commission issued a public warning against Adams and said that the video "cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially as a judge and interfered with the proper performance of his judicial duties, in willful and/or persistent violation of Canons 4A(l) and 4A(2) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct."

During the commission's investigation, 10 witnesses, many of whom were attorneys who regularly practiced before Adams, testified that Adams exhibited a pattern of being angry, undignified and demeaning, as well as unable to display proper judicial demeanor toward certain attorneys.

"Judge Adams' treatment of certain attorneys in his courtroom, particularly the now-former Aransas County Attorney, Jim Anderson, fell far below the minimum standards of patient, courteous and dignified courtroom demeanor expected of judicial officials, and constituted a willful and/or persistent violation of Canon 3B(4) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct," the commission found.

Adams asked the court to lift his suspension since the commission's investigation has concluded. He said he should be allowed to return to the bench "without delay," the order states.

Under an agreement with the commission, Adams waived his right to appeal his public warning.

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