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Texas Judge Caught on Tape Beating His 16-Year Old Daughter: Brings Corrective Force Debate Into Focus

The ubiquity of the Internet has done yet another difficult but ultimately good deed to law and justice in revealing the abusive parenting of a Texas judge.

The video contains graphic material difficult for some but reminiscent of their own experiences for others. The child - now 23 - is not permanently, physically injured during the video.

CORRECTIVE FORCE TO SOME, CHILD ABUSE TO OTHERS.

This video should be mandatory viewing for all those who participate in the debate on the use of corrective force upon children as a parenting strategy because it reflects the horrific moments of those children at the moment of the infliction of vigilante justice.

It also exposes the arbitrary and discretionary nature of corporal punishment on children which is administered or not based entirely on the assessment of some adult, and rarely a measured or even helpful response to a situation which requires discipline or consequence.

Aransas, Texas judge William Adams, some seven years ago, beat his then-16 year old, handicapped daughter for alleged misuse of the Internet.

Unknown to him, her webcam surreptitiously captured the event. The daughter anticipated her father's reaction to her alleged misconduct and had set the stage. For that, some may hold that her dramatic screaming must be discounted in some small part.

But consider Judge Adams' language as he beats his almost-adult daughter with a belt:

"Bend over the f--king bed, dammit! Lay down or I'll spank your f--king face… I have to f--king beat you into submission. You want to put some more computer games on? You want some more? F--king computer... See all the problems they cause? You don't deserve to f--king be in this house."

In the video, the child's mother, Hallie Adams, is also a willing, even enthusiastic participant.

The video was placed on YouTube by an anonymous user on November 1, 2011. This description accompanied the video:

"2004: Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the Internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father's backwards views. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can't even exercise fit judgment (sic) as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgment" is a giant farce.

"I was holding onto the video until the right time and after a barrage of harassment from my father over the phone, I snapped and finally uploaded it. Now I'm sorry I didn't do it sooner.

"I am still shocked that so many people are this enraged. But please, don't threaten my father. I only want him to finally repent.

"Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter."

The daughter Hillary Adams has a profile on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/shoehedgie, where she typically uses to post videos of her pianist recitals. It has been bombarded with supportive comments extolling her courage in posting the video.

The mother, Hallie Adams, now separated from Adams, spoke of the family violence with the national press:

"(It is) something that I've been hiding for a very long time. It's a family secret. I was completely brainwashed and controlled. I did every single thing he did."

According to Channel 6 News in Christi-Corpus, Texas (KRISTV), Hallie also posted this on Facebook:

"I am praying for my daughters and me and my family to heal in all ways from emotional and physical abuse, for the current and continuing abuse of my children and me that has been ongoing to end - starting now - for my daughters to both finally be able to go to counseling both individually and as a family group with their Dad's approval, encouragement, involvement and support, for him to finally make amends to all of us, talk openly with us, and take the first steps to letting our broken family heal."

WHO IS THIS JUDGE?

Judge William AdamsState County Court (Aransas) trial judge William Adams sits at the Rockport Court House, where additional police presence have been assigned, as well as protecting his person and residence, as death threats have been received.

He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence/Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University Of Houston in 1991 and was called to the State Bar of Texas in that same year. As of November 2, 2011, the State Bar reports no disciplinary proceedings in his regard. He was re-elected to his judicial position in 2010 and is not up for re-election until 2014.

On November 2, 2011, the Aransas County Police Department, inundated with media inquiries about the video, issued a statement; that the matter was under review and:

"Please refrain from communication … on this matter until the review has been completed. Calls, emails, and faxes only create disruptions for other ongoing county business. The public's cooperation would be most appreciated."

Adams' boss, Judge Burt Mills had a similar request posted on the Aransas County website.

Judge Adams spoke to a local television station (Kristv.com, Corpus Christi, Texas), and asked the world to chill out:

"It happened years ago. I apologized. It's not as bad as it looks on the tape."

In fact, his daughter told him ahead of time that she was planning on posting the video as a form of counseling to deal with the years of abuse.

"I said, I can post the video, of you beating me on the Internet, and he said, 'well, you can do that if it makes you feel better.' So I did." 1

Late in the day, on November 2, Judge Adams took a 2-week leave of absence. It'll likely be a lot longer as a police investigation has been launched.

HE'S NO LONE STAR

The Texas Penal Code, at §22.01, defines an assault as follows:

"A person commits an offense if the person ... intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another...."

But then, one finds 9.6.1:

"The use of force, but not deadly force, against a child younger than 18 years is justified if the actor is the child's parent ... and when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is necessary to discipline the child or to safeguard or promote his welfare."

William Adams is not the disease; he is but a symptom of the heavy reliance upon corrective force so deeply embedded in the culture of Texas. The State of Texas is still one of 20 states in America that allows corporal punishment in schools. Hitting children with a belt or a stick is common. The Fort-Worth Star Telegram reported:

"The 2006-07 school year, the most recent period with statewide statistics available, more than 49,000 Texas students were paddled."

One has to wonder if the paddle is improving these young children one smack at a time, or whether it is nothing more than a felon farm.

Judge Adams is an old hand at how the world turns. To get his conduct the best possible light before the one agency that could punish him, he self-reported the tape to the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct where it will be given a case number and rolled into the conveyor belt of judges judging judges. That also allows him to formally decline any further comment by hiding behind the doctrine of sub judice. And it may also keep the hounds at the local police department at bay.

And because - and only because of the Internet and video recording - there is no media spin or hiding for Judge William Adams.

The man behind the face is on tape.

And that man may yet have inadvertently laid the ground for a change in both culture and law among the 25-million citizens of the Lone Star State.

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