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Putnam Family Court judge takes medical leave

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A Putnam County Family Court judge accused of judicial misconduct has taken medical leave.

Judge William Watkins informed the West Virginia Supreme Court of his departure from the bench Friday. Chief Justice Brent Benjamin appointed former Family Court Judge Deloris Nibert as a temporary replacement for the duration of Watkins' leave.

In his letter to Benjamin, Watkins recommended attorney Shawn Bayliss as his replacement.

On Thursday, the state Supreme Court denied Watkins' motion to postpone disciplinary proceedings against him. Watkins is accused of delaying rulings, failing to enter domestic violence orders into the state's tracking system and screaming and cursing at litigants. The justices have scheduled a Feb. 5 hearing on the Judicial Hearing Board's recommendation that Watkins be suspended without pay for the final four years of his term.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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