Judiciary

Judge in Video Tirade Admits Some Anger Issues; Recommended Sanction Would Keep Him on Bench


A West Virginia judge who made headlines because of a videotaped tirade apologized and admitted some anger management issues before a judicial hearing board on Tuesday.

Judge William Watkins III has admitted allegations in a misconduct complaint and agreed to recommended discipline that would allow him to remain on the bench, the Charleston Daily Mail, the Charleston Gazette, the West Virginia Record and Wvmetronews.com report.

Watkins made headlines when he shouted “shut up” at a preacher in a videotaped tirade. In another incident, he was accused of yelling, “Shut up, you stupid woman.” In yet another case, he was accused of sending a letter to a litigant that said, “Every other witness describes you as rude, obnoxious, loud, unprofessional and generally acting like the south end of a northbound horse. I choose to believe them.”

Watkins acknowledged mistakes to the hearing board. “I’d like to have the opportunity to correct those mistakes and to prove that I can be an even better judge for Putnam County,” he said.

Watkins has agreed to a recommended sanction that provides for a 90-day unpaid suspension that would be stayed if he agrees to judicial monitoring. During that period, he would have to participate in anger management counseling and training that focuses on domestic violence. He would also have to pay nearly $18,000 to cover the costs of the disciplinary case. If Watkins does not cooperate during the monitoring period or he commits a “substantial breach” of ethics, he would have to begin serving the suspension, according to the West Virginia Record.

Watkins told the hearing board that he is stressed about his own heart ailments and his his wife’s inability to walk after the removal of several vertebrae, according to the West Virginia Record.

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