Texas Judge Under Investigation After Daughter Releases Video of Savage Beating

County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams has become an Internet sensation, but not in a good way. A video was posted that purportedly shows the judge beating his disabled teenage daughter. Now, the YouTube video has triggered a formal investigation. The 2004 beating by the judge was reportedly due to her use of the Internet without his permission. The daughter leaked the video entitled “Family law judge beats own daughter for using the internet, please spread” to expose what she says is her father’s untreated “problem.” The daughter who has cerebral palsy was caught downloading music.

The family judge is shown on the tape beating her with a belt until she grabs it. He then returns to resume the beating with a new belt and is recorded saying “Bend over the f***ing bed . . . Lay down or I’ll spank you in the f***ing face.”

The mother is also heard saying “You turn over like a 16-year-old and take it like a grown woman.”

The judge then adds “If I hear so much as you raising your f***ing voice to me or your mother with the wrong tone or do one little thing or you look at me f***ing wrong, I’m going to wear your f***ing a** out with this belt.”

The judge admits that he is shown beating her with a belt but insists that he did noting wrong: “She’s mad because I’ve ordered her to bring the car back, in a nutshell, but yeah that’s me, I lost my temper.” He added “It was a long time ago… I really don’t want to get into this right now because as you can see my life’s been made very difficult over this child. . . In my mind I have not done anything wrong other than discipline my child when she was caught stealing. I did lose my temper, I’ve apologized.. it looks worse than it is.”

Critics have noted that Adams has previously ruled against children alleging abuse by their parents. Last October, Adams said that a child’s statements ‘amounted to no evidence’ despite witnesses and a video in the case as well as the supporting testimony of a child psychologist. He used the occasion to call children “fantasizers.”

Adams remains on the bench pending investigation.

The eight-minute video has been viewed millions of times.

What is interesting is the wife divorced the judge and is now supporting her daughter, saying that the judge was engaged in regular bouts of violence due to his “addiction.” She called it a “family secret.” She divorced him in 2007. Yet, the mother is shown on the video responding to the judge’s demand “Go get the belt. The big one. I’m going to spank her now.”

Local reporters say that a neighbor saw “Adams and his girlfriend packing luggage, a briefcase and rifles into their truck.”

There remains a debate over whether spanking or beating a child is per se abuse. There has been a shift in attitudes from the time when teachers routinely beat children and parents whipped their children. There is no per se rule against spanking but beatings of this savagery would meet most definitions of abuse. Texas defines physical harm as involving “substantial” injury, though it also includes emotional injury:

§ 261.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
(1) “Abuse” includes the following acts or omissions by a person:
(A) mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(B) causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
(D) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
(E) sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
(F) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;
(G) compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code;
(H) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code, or pornographic;
(I) the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
(J) causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; or
(K) causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code.

The statute would indicate a ten-year statute of limitations for his type of crime:

Except as provided in Article 12.03, felony indictments may be presented within these limits, and not afterward:

(1) no limitation:
(A) murder and manslaughter;

(B) sexual assault, if during the investigation of the offense biological matter is collected and subjected to forensic DNA testing and the testing results show that the matter does not match the victim or any other person whose identity is readily ascertained; or

(C) an offense involving leaving the scene of an accident under Section 550.021, Transportation Code, if the accident resulted in the death of a person;
(2) ten years from the date of the commission of the offense:
(A) theft of any estate, real, personal or mixed, by an executor, administrator, guardian or trustee, with intent to defraud any creditor, heir, legatee, ward, distributee, beneficiary or settlor of a trust interested in such estate;

(B) theft by a public servant of government property over which he exercises control in his official capacity;

(C) forgery or the uttering, using or passing of forged instruments;

(D) injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual punishable as a felony of the first degree under Section 22.04, Penal Code;

(E) sexual assault, except as provided by Subdivision (1) or (5); or

(F) arson;

Based on the video evidence, it is odd that Adams would be left on the bench rather than put on leave pending the outcome of the investigation — particularly after his admission that he is the man shown beating the child.

[UPDATE: Adams has now taken a leave of absence.]

Here is the disturbing YouTube video.

Source: Seattle Pi as first seen on YouTube.

89 thoughts on “Texas Judge Under Investigation After Daughter Releases Video of Savage Beating”

  1. Too bad there isn’t a “Dexter” to take care of this evil judge. The judge at least deserves a savage beating.

  2. Anonymously Yours,

    Thanks for keeping me posted. The Corpus-Christi Caller-Times published an editorial today suggesting Adams resign.

    In the comments, someone offered an interesting timeline to Judge Adams’ career:

    I would like to point out that the “good ol’ boy” system has been a mainstay in Aransas County. Here’s how Adams came to be the Judge of a County Court:

    1998: Adams, a former Naval prosecutor and private lawyer, is elected to the position of County Judge of the Commissioners Court

    2000-2001: Adams and his “buddies” on the court petition State Representative Gene Seaman to have legislation passed to create a “new” Statutory Court of Law

    June 2001: Legislation was passed to create the new Statutory Court at Law – a judge would have to be appointed by the Commissioners Court

    September 2001: At a Special Called meeting of the Commissioners Court Adams resigned his position as County Judge to accept the appointment (voted on by his “buddies”) to the position of Judge of the new Statutory Court of Law; Commissioner Guillory resigns as commissioner and is appointed County Judge; James Cooper-Hill is appointed to the position of commissioner

    Adams is subsequently elected to the position at the next election and then re-elected. He touts himself as the first Republican judge of the court, which seems like an accomplishment, but he arranged for the court and then wanted the appointment.

    He’s as crooked as they get and it seems most of Aransas County is too. He was (notice past-tense) well-connected and I am more than sure that had a great bearing on his ability to cover-up and get away with his behavior in the courtroom and in the home.

    The CCCT Editorial Board is very much correct in stating he should resign. As this is the only statutory court in Aransas County, his rulings and oversight of civil and criminal proceedings will never be trusted. I am also very alarmed with the knowledge this slime was trained by our US Navy. Not only is he a disgrace to any relative, Rockport/Aransas County community, our region, our state, legal and judicial community, but what a horrible disgrace to our military. However, it seems his arrogance will not allow him to see this and he will remain in office(unless disbarred and removed from the bench). I would believe that by reviewing the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association, which Texas adopted in 1989, he violated several areas of (Rule 8) Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession.

    The only thing I have to add to his comment is that this is by no-means specific to the Republicans in South Texas. In fact, it’s only recently that Republicans have had enough power in the area to do this type of stuff.

  3. Well, it appears that this fine model of family law jurisprudence is going to get a walk on this incident primarily because it has supposedly ran past the Texas statute of limitations. I hope that the Feds can find something to hang their hat on to make this sick bastard richly pay for his sins against his daughter. And what’s worse is that Judge Adams is a card-carrying law-and-order Texas Republican. Makes one wonder if a defendant is found guilty in his courtroom, if he doesn’t just take them out back of the courthouse and soundly strap them with his belt to simply show them who is boss. I understand he is up for re-election on Tuesday. I sincerely hope that with his Aransas County electorate, that he ends up coming in third in a two-man race!

  4. Also judge william adams does not believe he flipped, in his mind he has done nothing wrong he says.

  5. On the subject of the mother. She puts up a passive defense of her daughet by first saying she’d already spanked her. She then takes the belt away from him and says she’ll do it, he goes to get another. The mother does deliver on her promise to do it by delivering one blow.

    The dynamics of such relationships are complex and here we only have a snap shot.

    I don’t believe this was the only time he did it because his daughter was able to predict his behavior; the cynics could liken this to a police sting operation where the situation is set up but the subject is free to choose their action – he wasn’t led in to it, if anything his wife saying she’d already spanked her was a deflection.

    Since I believe this wasn’t the first time I believe the daughter was scared, in fact him being a judge would likely make one more scared since the enforcers are his buddies. I therefore believe the video was kept as a last resort.

    As it was used there must have been a significant trigger. Normally divorce involves the man supporting his wife if that’s what he did during the marriage. Presumably an arrangement was made with this divorce and it seems judge william adams wanted to change it based on some notion as to how his daughter (this girl) should lead her life.

  6. I don’t know about loosing his law license but a judge with demonstrably questionable judgement doesn’t seem tenable to me; it’s made worse by ther fact his judgement was called in to question a year ago back with respect to a child abuse case. Oct 12 2010 references.

    In my opinion his actions have made a mockary of his judiciary and inaction by the state commission on judicial conduct will make a mockary of the state judicial system.

    The man is lucky by virtue of statutes of limitations not to be prosecuted. I cannot see how anyone who could have been prosecuted for this kind of crime can continue to be a judge.

    The irony is if he does loose his income then there is bound to be a reduction in the amount of financial support the mother and daughter get.

    Incidentally it’s interesting how he admits to trying to blackmail his daughter in to getting a better job before claiming she released the video because she was blackmailing him.

    No idea what financial arrangements the divorce involved but I cannot imagine the amount of money due from him was based on his daughters’ performance.

  7. Yep. And the polygamist wives who hand their kids over to child molesters are also “brainwashed”. But the men aren’t. They just grew up in the same cult. Strange the girl hung onto this video for seven years and decided to release it coincidentally as her fathers financial support was going away. But, as she claims it was just to make him get help. I think the father knows he flipped and so does the daughter. It’s the mother claiming she was brainwashed that I don’t believe. She had as much guilt in this whipping as he did.

  8. raff and David, what odds do you give for him keeping his law license? He has set a new level of clarity for the term, “bringing disrepute on his profession.”

  9. Judge William Adams Won’t Be Charged Over Videotaped Beating Of Daughter, Police Say
    CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN 11/ 3/11 09:31 PM ET

    “McALLEN, Texas — A Texas family law judge whose daughter secretly videotaped him savagely beating her seven years ago won’t face criminal charges because too much time has elapsed, police said Thursday.

    Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams likely would have been charged with causing injury to a child or other assault-related offenses for the 2004 beating of his then-16-year-old daughter, but the five-year statutes of limitations expired, Rockport Police Chief Tim Jayroe said.”


  10. Thanks for the update Otteray. I guess we watch and wait now to see what justice means in Texas.

    I posted my complaint yesterday so they’ll still get it.

  11. The Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct would be the ones who could act. Judge William Adams is an elected official and it was suggested they had no authority to remove him however they let slip there is a mechanim without elaborating.

    I’d say the judge william adams behaviour brings the judiciary in to disrepute; if it hasn’t then what can?

    Formal complaints have to use their form and be mailed: tedious I know but deliberate, it means you have to put effort in to your rage and be counted.


  12. I am actually delighted to hear that there is a huge storm of protest over what this judge has done. If we start getting people to believe the realities (of the corruption, dishonesty, brutality, and just plain low class amoral conduct) some of our judges will have to start thinking they are not immune to all regulation or all social condemnation when they go off the rails. Most of them, when they do what they KNOW to be wrong, become so pre-emptively self-righteously pompously accusatory and vindictive to any victims who have an ounce of protest left in them, that nobody ever has hard evidence to put up on the web or to use in any non-corrupt forum.

    NON CORRUPT FORUM, what am I thinking?

    I am thinking this: If facebook can bring down a middle eastern potentate, it can bring down a Texas judge. Why should we not hold this reprehensible thug in CONTEMPT? Shouldn’t we hold him in CONTEMPT? Is there any other way we can possibly see him?

    Let that corrupt murderous little Texas fiefdom protect their judge; I think there’s enough outrage out there now that he might not be able to weild his power any longer. Maybe his younger daughter will be safe.

    They ought to tear down his courthouse and make him eat the whole building brick by brick, pulverized and stirred into lukewarm MacDonalds coffee.

    Oh no, try this one:

    May he live in a mansion with 100 rooms,
    and in each room may he have 100 big soft beds
    and may he leap forever and ever from bed to bed in a malarial fever.

  13. rafflaw,

    You’re probably more correct than you think.

    A person I chatted with today – the guy who explained to me that Aransas County doesn’t have an elected DA – is a County employee and he told me that the news stories don’t even begin to describe the chaotic situation they’re going through. The articles make it sound like they’re trying to get sympathy, but the reality is that they are overwhelmed in every sense of the word.

    The guy I talked to was talking to me because he skipped work today, as did several other employees, leaving the two lowest people on the totem pole to field all the phone calls. (Many of which were death threats)

    The morning the story hit the local paper, they already had a notice up that said, basically, “Please stop calling. We are dealing with the situation”.

    It’s a virtual certainty that they’re dealing with all sorts of DDoS attacks, but even if they weren’t, their servers would probably be crashed from the legitimate traffic.

    Aransas County is populated with pretty much nothing but shrimpers and oyster shuckers. Oh… and one child-abusing judge. (Actually Rockport is a really pretty little town; a google image search will back me up). I’ve lived in South Texas for most of my 47 years and this is by far the biggest thing I can remember happening in Aransas County.

    When Dick Cheney shot that guy while hunting, it happened in Kenedy County, to our south, and that event was nothing compared to what Aransas County is dealing with.

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