Putnam Judge’s Rant Posted Online


A judge’s rant during a court proceeding in Putnam County is drawing attention after it was posted to YouTube this week.

The video is court surveillance from a May 23rd divorce proceeding.  Hurricane Pastor Arthur Hage and his estranged wife are before Family Court Judge William Watkins for a hearing over the pending sale of their home.

As the proceeding gets started, Judge Watkins addresses Hage and grows increasingly angry over a story posted to an internet news site which featured a picture of the judge’s home.

"Mr. Hage if you say one word out of turn, you’re going to jail," Watkins starts his address.

Judge Watkins then proceeds to berate Hage over the pictured and the negative attention it’s drawn to his family. 

"A picture of my home, on the front page, SHUT UP! DON’T EVEN SPEAK," Watkins can be heard screaming on the video. "My wife is disabled and you.. you disgusting piece of …"

Watkins says his windows were broken and his home vandalized after the picture was posted. He holds Hage personally responsible. 

Eventually, Watkins says he’s so angry he will recuse himself from the case.  However, he reconsiders and continues with the hearing.  Now that a month has passed, Watkins has removed himself from the case and it’s been assigned to another judge.

Officials with the Judicial Investigation Commission are aware of the video and have watched it. However, whether they’ll investigate the judge’s actions are unclear.  Hage says he’s filed several complaints with the commission about Watkins during his divorce case. 


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