The south Texas judge secretly taped beating his daughter with a belt has been disciplined by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, who hears family-law cases, was issued a public warning by the commission, dated September 4.
The 2004 video (after the jump) was made by the judge's then-teen daughter, whose ongoing dispute with her father over various matters has been the subject of national-news interviews since it hit YouTube in November. The tape shows Adams whipping her with his belt and saying such stuff as "Bend over the fucking bed!!" and threatening to hit her "in your fucking face."
He has been suspended from hearing cases since the controversy flared and the commission further investigated.
The warning means Adams will be allowed to stay on the bench, although he likely will face a lot of recusal motions.
Court documents show mixed reactions to Adams among the more than a dozen or so attorneys and staff interviewed by the commission:
all of the attorneys praised Judge Adams for his fairness and impartiality, as well as his knowledge of the law. All were of the opinion that Judge Adams was a good judge, who made reasoned decisions based on the law and what was in the best interests of the children
However, six attorneys believed that Judge Adams could no longer be effective in court because the conduct portrayed in the videotape created the public perception that the judge could not be fair and impartial in cases involving allegations of family violence, child abuse, or assault.
At least eight of the attorneys who practiced regularly in Judge Adams' court...described a pattern of incidents in which Judge Adams displayed anger and poor judicial demeanor toward certain attorneys appearing in his courtroom.
More specifically, witnesses recalled that Judge Adams often treated the now-former Aransas County Attorney, Jim Anderson ("Anderson"), in an unprofessional and discourteous manner, and frequently exhibited angry, undignified, and demeaning conduct when interacting with Anderson in the courtroom.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In light of all that, the commission said, it was issuing a public warning.
Here's the tape in question, if you have the stomach for it: