Unsurprisingly and predictably, a year after that video showed Texas Judge William Adams beating his disabled daughter, he’s been reinstated.
After a year’s paid leave at $146,304 per year or what anybody else might uncharitably call a paid vacation, Judge Adams is back and his daughter, Hillary, who suffers from cerebral palsy, will instead have to find her only solace in having inflicted on her dad, her own brand of viral video retributive justice — and not the permanent bench ban she and her mother had hoped — for the tough-loving jurist.
Expressing sadness at his reinstatement, Hillary’s mother said,“I had really hoped the judicial review process would work. I had really wanted to see the public protected.”
Judge Adams, however, will no longer preside over the physical domestic abuse cases that was previously his bailiwick. And the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services will no longer present him with cases involving violence against children.
The judge, however, will suffer the unwelcome if minor affront of a 1.6% cut in pay starting next year.
Earlier this year, he learned that instead of a 2% cost-of-living adjustment that other employees will enjoy, the Aransas County, Texas commissioners had voted to cut his 2013 salary to $144,000.
In addition, Judge Adams will come up for reelection in 2 years when one supposes a restive electorate may decide to give him a more complete haircut than just a 365-day holiday at taxpayer expense.
Prematurely cynical re. Judge Ken Anderson?
But at least as concerns that other Texas judge, the Honorable Ken Anderson, who also made national news this year, it turns out my cynicism might have been premature when I posted, “The Michael Morton case. Discipline odds are ‘slim to none’ in misconduct inquiry.”
I say “might” because — be still my cynical heart — notwithstanding the specter of possible state bar discipline, I nonetheless still doubt that anything short of a censorious wrist-slap with a feather-duster will be administered. I’m merely calling them as I see them for as George Bernard Shaw said, “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
This past October 30, 2012, Judge Ken Anderson faced a court of inquiry. And for those unfamiliar with the essential facts, DNA evidence freed Michael Morton last year — but only after he’d served 25 years of a sentence following his wrongful conviction for his wife’s murder. Also see “Michael Morton and another recurring inquiry into alleged prosecutorial misconduct.”
The case was so shocking and the alleged misconduct so egregious that even the Texas State Bar couldn’t ignore it. And so they got into the act earlier last month when the Bar’s Disciplinary Council filed a disciplinary petition against the ex-prosecutor and now sitting judge alleging that when he was a prosecutor, Judge Anderson knew about the existence of potentially exculpatory evidence and withheld it from defense counsel. See “State Bar says Anderson hid evidence in Morton case.”
Judge Anderson and his legal team, of course, filed their obligatory responses and have continued to object to the misconduct inquiry on various grounds from immunity to elapsed statute of limitations.
But in spite of the embarrassing publicity, the time, the expense and the aggravation of mounting a vigorous defense, I imagine there’s comfort the respondent can gain from the reality that in Texas like most everywhere else, discipline of prosecutors remains a rare thing — like a two-hole bowling ball, a meat-abhorring lion or a football-hating monkey.