Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

The Judge William Adams Video

Any Internet consumers worth their salt know that disturbing videos are just part and parcel of a world where everything can and often does end up online. In late October, a video was posted to the social news website Reddit that was so upsetting it caused an instant scandal off-line. The 7-min. clip, filmed in 2004, showed a man viciously and repeatedly whipping his teenage daughter with a belt. Even more disturbing was the video's description, which identified the man as a prominent Texas county-court-at-law judge, William Adams. The video was posted by his daughter Hillary Adams, who wrote that she had been "holding on to the video until the right time" and added a request that viewers share the clip. Share they did; they also started a campaign to have Adams brought to justice. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct launched an investigation of the judge after it was flooded with calls, e-mails and faxes — many condemning the judge, others debating the rights of parents to apply corporal punishment. Adams, who sometimes oversees family law cases, later admitted that it was him on the tape, though he claimed it was a dark part of his past and that he no longer hit his children. Hillary publicly disagreed, as did Adams' ex-wife Hallie Adams. While Texas prosecutors said the statute of limitations prevented them from criminally charging Adams, the video and resulting backlash against the judge resulted in his suspension from the bench as well as a restraining order preventing him from seeing his other daughter.