Texas Commission|Takes Judge to Task

     (CN) – A suspended Texas judge has been publicly warned by a state ethics commission over a 2004 video that shows him whipping his disabled teen-age daughter with a belt.
     The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct issued a “public warning” to Aransas County Court at Law Judge William Adams. The commission also mentioned his treatment of certain attorneys in his courtroom.
     The Texas Supreme Court suspended Adams in November 2011, weeks after the video was posted on YouTube by his daughter Hillary Adams, 24.
     She says she was 16 at the time and her dad whipped her for illegally downloading music on her computer. The video has gone viral, with at least 7.2 million views, according to YouTube.
     “The videotape captured approximately seven and a half minutes of a scene occurring in the privacy of Hillary’s bedroom, wherein her father, Judge Adams, struck Hillary forcefully at least seventeen times with a belt, yelled profanities at her, and threatened he with further physical harm,” the commission found.
     “In the same video, Hillary’s mother, Hallie Adams, also yelled at Hillary and struck her one time with the belt.”
     The commission says in the 4-page document 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.”
     The commission noted that although Adams was not aware he was being videotaped, his private conduct brings public discredit to the judiciary because he regularly presides over child custody, child abuse and family violence cases.
     The commission said that during its investigation 10 witnesses, including at least eight attorneys who regularly practiced before Adams, described a pattern of Adams’ being angry, undignified, demeaning and displaying poor judicial demeanor toward certain attorneys.
     “The Commission further concludes that 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.

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