Former Family Court Judge Deloris J. Nibert was assigned to take his place.
Justice Menis Ketchum asked Martin to check personally with the state Public Employees Insurance Agency to find the date Watkins applied for disability and submit it to the court.
In addition to arguing the constitutionality of the punishment, Martin told justices that allowing complainants to speak at the conclusion of the Nov. 27 hearing in front of the Judicial Hearing Board harmed Watkins' case.
"He demanded [Watkins] turn and face him like a man," Martin said, pointing to Mark Hallburn, who was sitting in the courtroom.
Justice Robin Davis said, "I don't have a lot of sympathy, based on what I've seen from Judge Watkins and his mannerisms," but added she hoped the procedures at the hearing had been fair.
"If I was sitting there on trial for my job and someone talked to me like that, I might flip out too," Ketchum said.
At the Nov. 27 hearing, Watkins apologized for his behavior and Cipoletti and Martin jointly recommended that Watkins should be suspended for 90 days without pay, but that the suspension should be put on hold while Watkins was monitored for 90 days and underwent counseling.
However, the hearing board's recommendations concluded that Watkins' apology was "less than sincere" and included notes from an investigator that said, among other things, that Watkins "has a generally hostile manner of interacting with others ... individuals with this personality style are not very receptive to suggestions from others."
Martin told justices the hearing board was wrong to cite from the "offending psychological report" in its recommendation, as there had been two evaluations performed.
The Supreme Court will ultimately decide the case.
"This is a unique case, probably the first one of its kind our court has seen at this level," Davis said.
Reach Kate White at kate.wh...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1723.