Smile, Judge Watkins, you're on Candid Camera!

By The West Virginia Record | Aug 17, 2012

These days, you can hardly scratch your backside without some camera somewhere capturing the awkward moment. Whether it's a building security system, someone's cell phone, or a satellite miles above the earth, your two-second indiscretion may be recorded for posterity.

Call up a picture of your house on Google Earth and there you are in the privacy of your own backyard, scratching away. Your only hope is to be doing something less embarrassing the next time the satellite takes a picture of your private domain, or to make a point of opening an umbrella during private moments.

There are, however, distinct benefits to the seemingly ubiquitous, all-seeing electronic eyes -- as people abusing positions of authority have learned.

Police brutality is harder to get away with. Politicians saying one thing to one audience and the opposite to another are more likely to be called on it. And judges who treat their courtrooms like kingdoms, lording it over the citizens they were elected or appointed to serve, may find their manic excesses plastered all over the internet.

Putnam County family law judge William M. "Chip" Watkins III sure did.

A Google search for "Judge Watkins video" returns the web address for the Youtube page on which the judge's startlingly coarse and combative conduct is captured. Nearly 200,000 persons have viewed this video since its posting late in June, and many tens of thousands more are likely to watch it in the months to come.

Watkins' mad tirade has gone viral.

The video should be required viewing for all Putnam County voters. No one who's seen it could possibly think Watkins should serve as a judge in any court. If he's not removed from office before the next election, he's certain to receive a drubbing at the ballot box.

In the meantime, Watkins faces a two-count statement of charges from the Judicial Investigation Commission for violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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