Judge facing ethics claims unexpectedly takes off

CHARLESTON (AP) — A West Virginia Supreme Court official says a Putnam County family court judge facing ethics allegations unexpectedly took the rest of the year off.

Family court services director Lisa Tackett says Putnam court personnel reported Judge William Watkins’ departure Wednesday. The Supreme Court appointed a former judge to fill in.

Watkins tells The Charleston Gazette he normally takes off this time of year and will return Jan. 2.

Tackett says judges planning to be off that long typically ask the chief justice to appoint someone to handle their domestic violence cases, which have a 10-day limit.

Watkins faces allegations that he delayed rulings, failed to enter domestic violence orders into the state’s tracking system and screamed and cursed at litigants. A state Judicial Hearing Board recommended he be suspended.

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