The State Commission on Judicial Conduct released a public warning against Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams on Sept. 6, concluding that a 2004 videotape depicting Adams striking his daughter “forcefully at least seventeen times with a belt . . .” “cast reasonable doubt on his capacity to act impartially as a judge.”
The public warning notes that Adams routinely presides over cases involving allegations of child abuse, family violence and assault.
The videotape “prompted an international media storm of controversy” when Adams’ daughter Hillary Adams released the videotape on the internet on Nov. 1, 2011.
On Nov. 22, 2011, the Texas Supreme Court suspended Adams from the bench with pay in response to an agreed motion filed by the commission and Adams.
The public warning notes that the commission interviewed 15 attorneys who regularly practice in Adams’ court. “All of the attorneys praised Judge Adams for his fairness and impartiality, as well as his knowledge of the law.”
However, six of the 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 and assault.”
Adams did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Seana Willing, executive director of commission, declines comment.
— John Council