Judge whose daughter released video of him beating her suspended from bench during judicial investigation

The Associated Press has a long followup on the story of Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams, whose daughter Hillary posted a seven-year-old video of her father viciously beating her for breaking a rule over using a computer at home. The judge has acknowledged that the video is real, and that he is the aggressor in the assault.

Local law enforcement says that they believe that the video depicts a serious crime, but as the statute of limitations has passed, they have not arrested the judge. The judge has been suspended from the bench while his conduct is investigated by the Texas judicial conduct commission and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The judge claims that his daughter posted the video as retaliation after he cut her off financially following a fight over her decision to "'drop out,' and strive to achieve no more in life than to work part time at a video game store" that culminated with his taking away of her "Mercedes automobile."

Hillary Adams has not responded to the allegation, but rather discusses her father's history of abuse and her desire that he would seek help. Her mother -- divorced from the judge -- describes the father as having an unspecified "addition" problem (presumably the AP means "addiction").

Hillary Adams said she waited so long to expose her father because she was terrified at what might have happened had she done so while still living under his roof. She said the outpouring of support and encouragement she's received since posting the clip is tempered by the sadness that it's her father repeatedly lashing her with a belt and threatening to beat her "into submission."

During an interview with her mother Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, Hillary Adams said her father regularly beat her for a period of time. has repeatedly said she didn't post the clip to spite her father, and that she hopes it forces him to seek help.

Her mother blamed her ex-husband's bouts of violence on an "addition." She called it a "family secret," but declined to elaborate.

Police: Judge won't be charged over video beating


  1. “but as the statute of limitations has passed, tehy have not arrested the judge.”
     (presumably Boing means “they”)

    1. ” … or achieve”

      Plus… he’s apparently upset that his daughter found a job in a terrible economy. Finding any job is pretty much a grand achievement these days, isn’t it? I guess the fact that it involves video games really grinds his gears.

  2. HEY.  Picking sides only amounts to needless bias.  Calling out actions as wrong or right is what gets us to justice.

  3. So many kids get abused, so many guys like him go unpunished. I’m glad there’s been some consequences even if he won’t end up in prison.

  4. While I’ll forever abstain from watching the video (it’s masochism to willingly witness such a grotesque spectacle), at least one imbecile has been caught red-handed and seen by millions, the stigma will hound this shitkicker judge to the grave.

    What haunts me no end is how such a severely warped individual can rise to a position of such power over so many individuals expecting due process and fairness.

    If this individual is not disbarred and all his cases reviewed, chalk up yet another one for the Texas judicial system.

    1. I don’t think it has anything to do with Texas or our current society.  People have been getting off on power over other people since the beginning of time.  Don’t’ get me wrong… I think it’s evil.  But it’s nothing new to humanity.  Non-psychopaths need to know how to combat this and overtake it.  We need systematic protections against this perversion of authority.

      1. Understood, and I agree with your conclusions.  But let’s focus on my anger towards Texas for a moment, please.

        What do you make of the number of executions in Texas, as well as how the courts have denied DNA testing in cases where the accused is sitting in death row?  Granted, it’s most definitely not a syllogism, but in that light, the awful domestic violence puts a face to an institution that exhibits overzealous bloodlust.

        Then there’s Karla Faye Tucker, who pleaded for clemency, as she had become a born-again christian, with wishes to spend the rest of her life in prison, helping her fellow convicts.  Bush Jr was governor then, his response?  A mocking “Please don’t kill me!” in front of Tucker Carlson.  Which gives another glimpse at the character of the “guardians” overseeing that particular system.

        I guess this incident makes me very angry and may push me towards blanket statements, but it fits a profile, a pattern many people have detected long ago.

        1. Do you live in Texas? (I do).
          If not, then you seem overly-concerned with it, its citizens and our treatment by our government. Let me just say that as far as I can tell, we’re all doing just fine without Karla Faye Tucker, but thanks for your concern.
          (We’re also doing fine without Bush Jr, but that’s another story)

  5. I had been informed that the Statute of Limitations for this kind of thing is 10 years from the date the minor turns 18, in which case there’s still quite a long time left on it.

  6. In the UK the Limitation Act 1980 runs from the date the child is 18 not from the date the alledged offence occurred. 

  7.  I was actually on a jury where the defendant was a Houston Muni Court judge. She was charged with assault  and theft. The testimony on the assault charge was so wildly inconsistent that we acquitted her of that charge. We chose to convict on a lesser theft charge than the prosecution was asking for. She was disbarred. Surely Judge Adams should be disbarred as well.

    I am against the death penalty, but I have about zero sympathy for Karla Faye Tucker. There have been many troubling death penalty cases where there has been real evidence that some executed prisoners were not guilty of the crimes they were convicted. The Willingham case is the most recent example. There was no question of Tucker’s guilt. I’m not going to worry over someone like her when innocent people are being put to death without the state government seeming to even care. We need to get a governor and appeals board that actually seem to care and makes progress before I’m going to worry about people like Tucker.

  8. Money rich, life poor. The family all sounds rather messed up and it is sad.  A family ecology of despair.

  9. Well, that changes things. The judge’s allegations about why she released the video, if true, are completely fucking beside the point.

  10. It’s not just Texas people. It’s this whole country. I was raised and abused in the Northeast by an Atheist with no public office, no money, nothing. My abuse was mostly physical, starting as early as I can remember and ending brutally when I was sixteen. My father told me he was going to kill me, attempted to strangle me, broke both my collarbones and my nose then drug me across the apartment parking lot by my hair, threw me in the car and eventually threw me out of the car while driving just under 20 miles per hour. I walked six miles to school in ripped up pajamas with no shoes or jacket where Child Protective Services were immediately called. They documented my story, took photos, videotaped my story. My father agreed this was exactly what happened. My father got a slap on the wrist. He was not charged or convicted of anything and was able to keep his job taking care of elderly people. It was deemed that I was mentally and financially sound enough to be emancipated. I was 16, homeless and dropped out of school as an A/B student. I was a junior. I was ready to go to school for engineering. 12 years later and I still haven’t been able to go to college and my life is not anywhere near where I wanted it to be.  To this day I still feel like I was the one who was punished for being abused. 
    Other kids in my scenario end up in foster care which can be a punishment in itself. The system is pretty screwed, abused children everywhere need more rights.

  11. So she posted the video as retaliation, huh? Well that changes everything. He just put two and two together and beat her as an advance punishment for eventually publishing video evidence of the beating. So much for that purported “addition” problem.

  12.  “Now I love that girl just as much as I can, that’s too much for a man, wasn’t quite what I planned.  I tried to please but my conscience is damned, and I loved her too hard with the back of my hand.” – Filthy Thieving Bastards

  13. There seems to be  something off about the statute of limitations in relation to crimes like this, in which the victim is underage and dependent on the abuser.  So if a parent beats a 7-year-old-child mercilessly and then stops doing it after a year, and the child doesn’t press charges until much later because they’re fearful of the consequences — or better yet, they don’t press charges until much later  because it doesn’t even occur to them that they can, as they’re not old enough to understand — the parent gets off scot-free?  Someone feel free to enlighten me on the finer legal points here if my assessment is off, but it seems as though the young dependent victim is being treated like an adult free agent, in a non-coercive situation, who can freely choose whether to press charges or not.

    And in reply to EvilSpirit: Yeah, that public statement from Adams is a piece of work, isn’t it.  “But don’t you see?  She’s SPOILED!”  The three-page statement contains no apology either.

  14. One! One lash of the belt!

    Two! Two lashes of the belt!

    Three! Three lashes of the belt! AH! AH! AH!

    (gavel crashes)

    1. Blamed his bouts of violence on “addition”?

      I have a similar problem after having a bad childhood experience with a subtrahend.

  15. I just can’t begin to understand how he OR his lawyer could have thought victim-blaming was a good idea.  “She just wants her Mercedes!  Oh, and that CP thing?  She’s totally exaggerating!”

    The guy HAS to be on drugs.

  16. That had to border on something sexual..   do they have statute of limitations on sexual assaults down there?

    As a side note, anyone convicted under this guy since the beating should appeal, cuz it’s obvious he is unfit to wear those robes.  This man is incapable of rational, reasoned thought.

    1. Honestly I’m more worried about the people he’s acquitted.

      Specifically, the ones accused of child abuse.

  17. re: “describes the father as having an unspecified “addition” problem”

    Could be he’s so dumb he couldn’t count how many times he hit her.

  18. Actually, one of my relatives was married to a judge in a city only slightly larger than Corpus Christi.  They did not live a Wall Street lifestyle; although they were country club members, their house was an older model and they drove a Datsun (now Nissan) and a Toyota. 

    The point is:  that Mercedes given to Hillary sounds like a bribe, and it sounds very much as though Bad-Dad Adams is on the take.  This guy needs an audit more than anyone I ever heard of.  If he can manage a Mercedes and a substance abuse habit on a municipal salary, he’s getting bribes, either big, plenty, or both.

    We need to be very worried about all of the abused children and youth whose computers and camera phones are, even as we speak, being taken away from them.  In any schools even slightly more affluent than inner-city, laptops or netbooks should be a requirement. 

    Unfortunately, these godbot fundamentalist luddites would probably commence to “home-schooling” their unfortunate offspring.

    1. I was also wondering if the Benz  was an attempt to buy his daughter’s silence. If he was threatening to take it back, he presumably hadn’t registered it in her name, so perhaps taking it away if she didn’t toe the line was always part of the plan.

  19. “strive to achieve no more in life than to work part time at a video game store”

    What a prick.

    There’s nothing wrong with working at a video store. An adult man wailing on a young girl and calling it ‘discipline’, however, is very wrong.

    1. And she’s, what, 22 or 23?  Working part-time at a video game store seems appropriate for her age and stage in life.  I bet if she was flipping burgers, he wouldn’t care, even though working at a video game store has to be a lot more pleasant than flipping burgers.  It’s the fact that it’s *gasp* a video game store.

  20. He may not get any punishment due to the statute of limitations, but he can at least be barred from holding a job he’s clearly not qualified for. Very nice to he’s been suspended. I can only hope that the suspension becomes permanent. This guy has no business being on the public payroll, working in law or being a judge of anything, other than maybe a worlds worst dad or biggest asshole competition. 

  21. Fortunately, judicial discipline boards (and attorney discipline boards) have very broad authority to discipline judges and attorneys for any conduct (including old conduct) that would seem to make the person unfit to be a judge or lawyer.  Hopefully he will never be on the bench again and will even be disbared.  Unfortunately the options for discipline likely do not include seeing what Manny Pacquiao could do to this guy in 7.5 minutes.  (I’m sure it would look worse than it actually was.) 

    I agree with the posters that are surprised at what we see of the judge’s lifestyle.  Judges generally make good money — but not that good.  Unless they left private practice at a large firm, they are far from the 1%.   Still, it appears he is a senior judge in the county and probably has been on the bench for many years.  So maybe he can afford to keep his daughter in a Mercedes and support her – but it does seem fishy.

    Finally, I admittedly don’t know anything about TX statues of limitations, but I’m surprised there isn’t some way to bring charges.  I hope this isn’t just an excuse by a DA who wants to avoid having all this judge’s judgements reviewed.

  22. Trying to see the silver lining here….

    It’s not often we see a detailed public explanation for why some obvious criminal will not be tried. I think they did a good job of showing that they understand the severity of the crime but legally their hands are tied.

    That’s something, at least.

  23. Addition problems are a serious  matter. They multiply until they can divide a family. And they leave victims a fraction of their former selves, not to be counted on by their loved ones. To sum it up, if we don’t get to the root of such problems, the numbers of victims will grow exponentially.

  24. Can we please stop with the “addition”-jokes? A child was viciously beaten. So – not funny, guys.

    1. Can we please stop with the “addition”-jokes? A child was viciously beaten.

      Yes, but how many times?

    1. This does sound like a case where Anonymous might decide if the SoL has passed.

      Either way, this judge is SOL.

  25.  I read the article in the dead tree edition on the way to the Occupy Houston Divestment march. The reason charges will likely not be filed is that the DA’s office is considering this simple battery. The statute of limitations  is five years. They have considered and (I hope, I hope) and may still (though I fear they probably won’t) file charges under a child abuse law that will not expire for a few more years.

    Judge Adams may still be disbarred, and I hope that the doxers. help us all make his life a living hell forever. Dude lives a 2-3 hour drive away form me. So far I have resisted temptation.

    BTW, Gotta give my props to the Houston Police Department. Y’all showed New York and Oakland how it should be done. Nice to see how public safety and free speech don’t need to be made into conflict at the Occupy Houston Divestment March this morning. Thank you.

    And thanks also to our mayor and council. Yes, we are breaking the law with the camp in Tranquility Park, but understand that our constitutional rights to free speech and assembly are more important than the laws that say we can’t stay in the park overnight. Thank you for giving us the chance to show we can occupy Tranquility  in a sanitary and orderly fashion.

  26. I haven’t posted on BB for quite a while. But as I’ve been in the jaws of the beast myself, I figure I have something to add.

    I watched, I dunno, about half of the video a day or two ago. My guts knotted up and I broke out into a flop sweat and then I turned it off. I got the idea. And it triggered memories.

    Growing up with abuse means you live in a different world than other kids in your community. You have trouble relating to other people, children and adults. You can’t read people, don’t know if you should trust them, and you desperately want to trust them. Whether you can articulate it or no, you ache to be loved. Because the people who have brought you into this world are incapable of love. They tell you they love you. They tell you they love you as they hit you, shame you, frighten you, control you and generally do everything they can to break your spirit, break your heart. They tell you they are doing it for your own good.

    You might, if you are a strong or feckless child, argue. You might point out that none of the other children you know are treated by their parents in such a harsh manner. It will not make a difference.

    Abusive parents like to isolate their kids. Abusive people isolate their spouses and partners. If you have one parent who is an active abuser and another who allows it to happen or rationalizes it, chances are that passive partner was raised in a household of abuse. The creepy pathology seems normal to them. I believe the passive parent is less guilty than the active abuser. But I do not give them a free pass. When you enter into a relationship with an abuser, they start out by charming you. They suss you out and sum you up and mirror back to you the values you hold dear. Then, sometimes over a period of years, they start manipulating and twisting things. Think of the lobster in the pot with the water slowly heating to a boil. Still, there comes a time when everyone in an abusive relationship realizes things are terribly wrong. And some folks stay, some folks have had their wings clipped so severely that they stay. I pity those folks… if they are childless. People who have children with abusers, well, I think  if they do not risk everything to get those kids away from the abuser, then they are criminal.

    If your baby somehow ends up sitting on the train tracks and the train is coming, you MUST do everything in your power to get that baby to safety, including sacrificing yourself.

    I was raised by abusive parents. I did not grow up to be an abuser, nor was I a victim in outside relationships from the get go, but for years I had a very high bullshit threshold. As an abused child, you are not simply chattel. You are raised to be meat, to be a victim. In middle age, I got hoodwinked. I got totally conned. I fell into a relationship with a particularly charismatic abuser. Payed a big price for it too: home, health and career. I had PTSD for five years afterwards. And honey, I ain’t never gonna be the same. So be it. Life goes on.

    But some good came of it too. I’m what, in “The World According to Garp”, is referred to as predisastered. I’ve lost everything once already. I understand something about survival. In these times, that’s important. 

    And I learned a lot about abusers and abuse. It’s mental illness folks. Not the kind you can cure, either. These people are personality disordered. And if it sounds like I am stereotyping, lumping all abusers into one big pile, you are right. These behaviors are the result of some kind of internal malfunction that results in horrible behaviors so consistent that, if you were to interview a number of different victims, their harrowing experiences would start to sound like reruns.

    The DSM gets rewritten every some years. There are political considerations and behind the scenes decisions that move things in and out of the official taxonomy of mental illnesses. Call them psychopaths, call them sociopaths, call them people with antisocial personality disorders. It doesn’t matter. The years march on and abusers keep on abusing. Meanwhile, we, as a society, completely and utterly fail to stop it.

    You waste time wondering about the logic behind the judge’s actions. He, like all abusers, has a very flexible sense of reality, of what is reasonable, what is fair. To justify his aberrant emotional needs, he will twist and fold his rationales like a pretzel, like a moebius strip and then some. To be in a relationship with one of his ilk, to have a man like that for a father means you live your life strapped into a rollercoaster designed by Dr. Caligari. If you want to survive the ride with any chance of escape, with any shred of your sanity, you stop paying much attention to their explanations. They’re just plain sick people.

    If you are following the belt-swinging judge story at all, out in the tubes of the interwebs, you’ll read posts questioning the victim and her motives. Not so much here. BB readers are brighter than average and have the sense to realize that you can both abuse someone and buy them a car. You can be rich and abusive. Part of the game abusive parents play is they give you stuff and they take it away.

    And the abuse cycle is like a tide. When you are weak, they abuse you. When you are strong, they back off and even charm you. You can even start to wonder if it wasn’t so bad. But weaken again and they will attack again, if you are in range. If you are strong and they are weak and you come back to help them, they may still attack. Probably the most vivid memory I have of my father is this: We were at the hospital because he was having a stroke. He was writhing and I was trying to keep him from falling off the bed. It was difficult. He was a big fat man and I am a small slight woman and he kept swinging at me.

    He kept saying, “Come closer Pip, so I can hit you.”

    The nurse came in and saw what was going on and took me aside. She told me she saw this a lot. Abuse laid bare in the intensive care ward.

    “Usually people try and hide it, but you can’t help but see it. We walk into the room and the family mask comes down. He knows he is trying to hurt you. Don’t subject yourself to this. We can secure him so that he will not fall. Go get some sleep.”

    I almost cried because she did not blame me. The rest of my family would have accepted Dad’s behavior and shamed me if I objected. I had been out of his house for almost two decades, but that was a pivotal moment for me.

    “Thank you,” I said. “Strap the bastard down. I’m going home.”

    Our collective inclination to blame the victim is part of what hinders our ability to make headway on the roots of abuse. Another is our cultural assumption is that mommy and daddy know best. Especially in conservative circles, there is much flag waving and shield rattling on the subject of parental rights. One of the major priorities of religious conservatives is their right to control their children to the point of isolating them from so much as another point of view. So many toxic belief systems are protected this way.

    It’s about patriarchy. It’s about control, baby, control. Kiddies (and wives) are chattel. Surely by now, in the midst of our descent into neofeudalism, you’d have that figured out? The laws, the courts, the media, are all about supporting those in power. That includes parents. The world is a series of nesting hierarchies. Rotten at the bottom means rotten at the top. Toxic at the micro level means poison in the macro too.

    Abused kids are at the bottom of the 99%, even when they live in the most affluent of homes.

    Child abuse makes people uncomfortable. Got a neighbor who is weird and controlling with his children? What do you do? You aren’t seeing him hitting them or fondly them. Indeed he might never even touch them. But you hear his tone when he speaks to them. You see them struggle to fit in with the other children. You suspect something is not right. But what do you do? What can you do? Not fucking much.

    And why in hell has this never been a priority? All the gum flapping about family values, what is it about anyway? Don’t look to the right. They do not care about the world they leave for their own descendents. These are not the people who are going to give a damn about the children of strangers.

    I blame a good hunk of it on religions. Not in the sense that they promote abuse (although many of them do), but in that they have taken on the role of dealing with toxic behavior. Sin. WTF is sin? An abuser abuses. An abuser rides some kind of positive feedback loop from controlling and hurting others. Don’t tell me an abuser is going to find a way out of that loop via prayer, via the intercession of Jesus, Mary or Buddha. Not going to happen. They don’t just pull up their socks and reform. Can a diabetic kick his pancreas into action by way of moral fortitude? No, I thought not.

    So really, I’m actually blaming the way we let religions take a leadership role in dealing with abuse situations. Because they are woefully unequipped to deal with the problem. How many thousands of years have they had? How much abuse have they stopped? Let’s not even talk about child brides, fondled altar boys and infibulation.

    The only thing that will make a lick of difference is understanding the mental disorders that cause this. Science, science, SCIENCE. It is the only thing we can trust to do the job. It is the thing that has made the biggest impact on human lives, on the whole planet, for good and for ill. You want to make a difference to abused kids? Push for research into the mental disorders of abusive people.

    Figure that one out and it will be money well spent. Figure that one out and you’ll cut back on all kinds of horrible mental disorders. Figure that one out and you have a chance to cure all kinds of people with empathy deficiencies who do the rest of us harm: abusers, warmongers, gangsters, bankers, media moguls, clergy, and even neocons.

    Figure that one out and we’ll have a fighting chance to clean up all the different kinds of mess we are in now, a chance to survive.
    Have I said this before? Hold up a finger for every time I’ve made this rant. Hmmm, fingers waving like sea anemone tentacles in the tide. So, yeah, just ramblings. And not proofed. I never proof anything unless I am being paid for it.

    all my best,


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