Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Texas Judge who Beat Daughter on Video Requests Reinstatement

A still from the Adams beating posted on YouTube.

A still from the Adams beating posted on YouTube.

Suspended judge William Adams, whose 2004 videotaped beating of his daughter, then 16, went viral after she went public with it, is seeking reinstatement to his position as a court-at-law judge in Aransas County family court.

Adams reportedly suggested, and accepted, the suspension with pay last year after the video, which showed him beating his near-hysterical daughter with a belt, drew criticism from the public, the media and his colleagues. When she posted the video, Adams’ daughter, Hillary, said that her father gave her the beating after he found out that she had used the Internet “to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time.” During the video you can see the beating, hear the belt snapping as the girl screams and hear Adams yelling at her. In addition to the physical abuse, his prolific use of the f-word adds an element of verbal abuse to the violence. The YouTube posting reads, “Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can’t even exercise fit judgment as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His ‘judgment’ is a giant farce. Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.”

As to why she posted the video, Hillary told CNN, “I wanted to show my father, ‘Hey, I think you were in some denial about the way you are treating me and my mother.’ And maybe showing him this would make him see something he didn’t before.” Giving his side of the story, Adams said in a statement, “If the public must know, just prior to the YouTube upload, a concerned father shared with his 23-year-old daughter that he was unwilling to continue to work hard and be her primary source of financial support, if she was going to simply ‘drop out,’ and strive to achieve no more in life than to work part-time at a video game store.”

Adams, who handled family-related and juvenile court issues, confirmed that he is the man in the video, but never admitted to any wrongdoing. His appeal to the Texas Supreme Court will determine if he is to get his old job back, a move that his ex-wife, Hallie Adams, said in a statement on October 3, 2012, she opposes, “I have not been able to get anyone to protect me and now I am trying to protect the public from being judged by a person that I feel does not have the capacity to act fairly and effectively as a judge as evidence of how he has treated his own family over the years.”

Exactly when the Texas Supreme Court plans to issue its ruling is unclear at this time.

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