Judiciary

Ethics Complaint Alleges Judge's Taped 'Shut Up' Shout Isn't His Only Courtroom Misstep


A West Virginia judge accused of shouting “shut up” at a pastor in a taped courtroom incident is facing ethics charges stemming from that matter and four others.

Judge William “Chip” Watkins III is accused of using profanity and berating people who appeared before him, the Charleston Daily Mail reports.

The five-count statement of charges was filed on Aug. 31. The story details these allegations in the complaint:

• Watkins allegedly shouted “shut up” at the Rev. Arthur Hage and accused him of telling a “damn lie.”

• Watkins disputed a mother’s assertion that she got pregnant by accident. “Well, honey, it ain’t an accident,” Watkins allegedly said. “You don’t get them off of toilet seats.” He is also accused of saying the father “got into some dumb sh–” and he didn’t want to spend time finding out “who was the biggest jackass in the operation.”

• Watkins is accused of telling a bailiff to remove a litigant from the courtroom and “take his ass into custody.”

• Watkins allegedly told a woman she was “shooting off [her] fat mouth” and told her to “Shut up, you stupid woman.”

• Watkins allegedly refused to recuse himself in a divorce case in a letter to the litigant that said, “Every other witness describes you as rude, obnoxious, loud, unprofessional and generally acting like the south end of a north-bound horse. I choose to believe them.”

Hage and two other litigants included videos with their complaints, the West Virginia Record reports.

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