The South Texas family law judge who garnered Internet infamy last year after a YouTube video emerged showing him severely beating his then-teenage daughter has been reinstated by the state's Supreme Court effective immediately.

Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams was suspended with pay last November after his daughter, Hillary Adams, posted an online video secretly taped in 2004 that shows the judge repeatedly striking the then-16-year-old with a belt for downloading games and music off the Internet.

Compounding the hideousness of the "punishment" is the fact that Hillary was born with ataxic cerebral palsy.

By the time the video surfaced, the statute of limitations on child abuse had expired, and Adams received no censure outside a public warning issued by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct which carries no real consequences.

The Texas Supreme Court yesterday approved an agreement under which Adams waives his right to appeal the warning, and, in exchange, he is allowed to resume his judicial duties.

"Hillary and I are both really sad today," Adams' ex-wife Hallie said in a statement. "I had really hoped the judicial review process would work. I had really wanted to see the public protected."

Though he returns to his bench in Rockport, Judge Adams will be prohibited from ruling on cases involving child abuse that are brought to court by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Agency Commissioner Howard Baldwin said the department has lost faith in Adams' ability to serve "in the best interest of children and parents in abuse or neglect cases."

[photo via AP]