July 3, 2012
West Virginia Judge, William Watkins goes Berserk, berates and threatens (with abuse of power) Rev. Arthur D. Hage in a divorce hearing. In listening to the video recording of the hearing, it is perfectly clear in our mind that Judge Watkins should be removed from the bench because of ?his anger issues and utterly?unprofessional?behavior that goes way beyond the pale.
No matter what Rev. Hage has done, and as best as we can tell he merely expressed his First Amendment rights and talked to a reporter, Judge Watkins behavior disqualifies him, in our opinion, as an officer of justice.
One source of the Judge’s anger is sourced in the Newspaper publishing a picture of his house, causing the Judge and his family to come under duress from some members of the public terrorizing his family. We completely understand that anger. However, Rev. Hage does not control the press. Even if Rev. Hage did control the press, the over-the-top anger of Judge Watkins, which is?understandable?if his family was under attack, the proper and judicial response for the judge would be to recuse himself, instead of humiliating himself in the way be behaved.
After this hearing, Rev. Hage filed an ethics violation against the Judge, as was proper to do. Only after the ethics complaint did Judge Watkins?recused himself from the case. This is something a professional would have done from the very beginning.
Our concern, however, is not exclusive to this one judge, but to the growing lack of judicial decorum witness in many cases like this one. Justice cannot be served by Judges like this one, and more critically, outright miscarriage of justice is likely.