Putnam Judge Off the Bench for Now

Putnam Family Court Judge William Watkins is off of the bench right now. The Charleston Gazette reports his departure was somewhat unexpected, and he won't be back until January 2. Watkins said he normally takes off this time of year around the holidays. Deloris Nibert, a former Mason County family court judge, was appointed by the state Supreme Court last week to cover Watkins' domestic violence caseload until the beginning of next year. Still pending against Watkins, are seven ethics violations alleging that he failed to enter domestic violence orders into the state's tracking system, delayed rulings, and screamed and cursed people in his courtroom. The state Judicial Hearing Board has recommended that Watkins be suspended until the end of his term in 2016.