West Virginia judge’s suspension shows need for cameras in courtrooms
Poynter's Al Tompkins has written for years about why courtrooms should allow cameras during proceedings. This week, some news from West Virginia helps make his case further:
The West Virginia Supreme Court on March 26 suspended Putnam County, W.Va., Family Court Judge William Watkins III without pay until December 2016, citing 24 violations of the state's judicial ethics rules.
The justices said that, while in court, Watkins shouted profanities at people and threatened litigants. On one occasion, he called a woman seeking a protective order against her husband "stupid," they said. He told her to shut up and criticized her for "shooting off [her] fat mouth about what happened."
One YouTube video of Watkins yelling at litigants last May has racked up more than 200,000 views.