Good riddance to 'the best family law judge in West Virginia'
One might think it will be a sad day when the citizens of Putnam County lose the services of a man described as “the best family law judge in West Virginia, without any question.” Who is this man of sterling character and Solomonic wisdom, this exemplar of jurisprudence? None other than the nonpareil William M. “Chip” Watkins III. And what wise West Virginian was it who first recognized his immense gifts and bestowed on him the title of “best family law judge in West Virginia”? That was William M. “Chip” Watkins III. Judge Watkins, in all modesty, described himself as “the best family law judge in West Virginia.” Who but “the best family law judge in West Virginia” would be able to recognize who “the best family law judge in West Virginia” is? If he is the best, then he would certainly know. His logic is unassailable only to him. In any case, his self-acclaimed status, as he himself assures us, is “without any question,” not to be challenged or debated. Judge Watkins has spoken. Judge Watkins – or, should we say, soon-to-be-suspended Judge Watkins -- does not like to be questioned. He’s a judge, you know -- “the best family law judge in West Virginia.” The Judicial Investigation Commission (JIC) filed a 24-count statement of charges against Judge Watkins this summer, recommending leniency in punishment. The Judicial Hearing Board, however, concluded that, for his consistent misconduct and lack of remorse, “the best family law judge in West Virginia” should be censured for all 24 violations and suspended without pay for the remaining four years of his term. A Google search for “Judge Watkins video” returns the web address for a Youtube page on which one example of the judge’s startlingly coarse and combative conduct is captured. Suffice it to say that it’s not the sort of behavior you’d expect from “the best family law judge in West Virginia.” Judging judges is not easy work and we commend the hearing board for their decisive action.