‘I messed up’: Lewis County judge to be suspended, admits mistakes

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LEWIS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Lewis County judge is under scrutiny yet again. However, this time General Sessions Judge Mike Hinson says he will be suspended.

“I’m taking full responsibility for it, I did it,” he told News 2.

The State of Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct launching an ethics investigation into the judge following two complaints from his courtroom.

“I messed up. I can’t apologize to the people of Lewis County enough you know. but it’s what it is,” the judge teared up.

A complaint from March regarding the judge using his judicial title in a threatening way was dismissed in an agreement with the board. However, they suspended the judge for a complaint in June for using inappropriate language to a couple regarding an order of protection. The disciplinary counsel saying his comment could be interpreted as disrespectful or demeaning.

“I said Judge Spencer can see through this bull****. Those words don’t belong in court, they don’t and I should have known that,” he explained.

Judge Hinson, now in his eighth year, says it’s a learning experience, pointing out his career in law came about much later in life.

“My issue has been throughout this whole thing, I really didn’t understand the rules,” he stated.

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It’s not the first time the judge has been in trouble. Eight months ago he received a public reprimand for not following COVID-19 protocol in his courtroom. Several years ago, he dismissed an entire courtroom full of citations as well as a DUI, all mistakes the judge admits.

“It was my fault, I did it. My heart is public service, and I go above and beyond sometimes and it kind of gets me in trouble.”

The judge says he is doubling down on being fair and respectful in the courtroom, and as part of his agreement with the disciplinary counsel, he will complete a judicial ethics program.

He adds that while he will be paid during his 30 day suspension, he plans to give the money back to the community.

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“Lewis County has been good to me. I’m not going to take money for something like this and so I’m going to find some sort of charity to give it to. I’m not worried about making a living it’s… there are people that need help. I gotta serve them and rather that’s helping them with a drug addiction, rather that’s fussing at them ya know don’t do this again, sometimes putting them in jail to save their life that’s what I do.”

Judge Hinson says the suspension order will be filed Tuesday and will go into effect in October.

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