Oral arguments for family court judge set for Feb. 5 - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Oral arguments for family court judge set for Feb. 5

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A Putnam County Family Court judge accused of screaming at litigants before him in court will appear before the state's highest court for a Feb. 5 oral arguments hearing, the court recently announced.

In a Jan. 3 order, the court also denied Putnam County Family Court Judge William M. Watkins' motion to stay proceedings.

According to the Associated Press, Watkins planned to retire and filed the motion to stay proceedings so he could wait until his disability application was processed. Justices denied this motion in a 5-0 vote.  

The Judicial Hearing Board handed down an order Dec. 3 saying Watkins violated canons of the judicial code of conduct.

The board recommended Watkins to be suspended without pay until the end of his term in 2016 to be censured on each of his 24 violations. The state Supreme Court could accept, deny or tweak these recommendations.

The court had charged Watkins with failing to return a ruling on a divorce case following a circuit court order. The state Supreme Court then ordered Watkins to rule on the case.  

The Supreme Court also charged Watkins with not updating the domestic violence registry.

The counsel also recommended that he take anger management courses, address office problems, take six hours of judicial training for domestic violence and pay a $17,759 fine.

The order also cited an "abject failure to treat litigants in his courtroom with the respect and dignity" for yelling at litigants in his courtroom.