LEWIS COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lewis County General Sessions Judge Michael Hinson, who has been disciplined in the past by the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct and who has a history of unusual behavior inside and outside the courtroom, is back in the news again.

In October, the judge dismissed a majority of cases that came before him. Those cases included domestic assault, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident, meth possession, speeding, driving on a suspended license, and even theft.

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The court docket from Oct. 6 that shows Judge Mike Hinson dismissing more than three dozen cases.

News 2 offered the judge multiple opportunities to go on camera, but instead, Hinson sent a statement that said in part:

“It is true that I dismissed several charges that day. Most of the docket consisted of cases wherein restitution had been made, issues such as suspended licenses had been resolved and others deserving another chance. I don’t apologize for giving people as many chances I believe necessary if they are honest, admit their mistakes and are working to correct them. Most people who pass through my court are not criminals. They are people with problems who need help and should be treated as such. Sometimes the law is just too harsh.

I stand by each decision I made that day. It is inaccurate to judge my ability based on one day over my eight-plus-year career. Quite frankly, this “story” only serves to push a reporter’s narrative of me. It does not remotely begin to reflect who I am as a judge, my heart or the reasons for my decisions.

I will not apologize for my style of judging nor will I change. I will not stop believing in and helping the people of Lewis County. Sometimes you have to judge by the heart, not by the book.”

This is not the judge’s first brush with controversy. In 2018, News 2 interviewed Michael Hinson after he reportedly dismissed hundreds of THP tickets. “I do have a very liberal dismissal policy,” he said at the time.

News 2 documented an unusual situation in which the judge physically came to a traffic stop, actually adjudicating the case and dismissing it, on the spot, while the trooper was still writing the citation. The judge told News 2 he probably would not do that again, but he admitted, “that is not the first time I’ve done that.”

The judge said in 2018 that he disapproved of what he believed was a targeted campaign, at the time, by the THP to write citations in Lewis County.

One of the cases the judge dismisses on Oct. 6, 2022, involved a domestic assault case where a woman reportedly assaulted a man in a restaurant in front of a police officer.

In another case the judge dismissed this past October, a Hohenwald drug officer stopped a car for speeding and found meth and paraphernalia. The officer charged four occupants in the car. The judge dismissed the case and the charges against the suspects.

And the judge dismissed a theft case in which police spent many hours, interviewing witnesses and suspects, and tracking down leads, and obtaining video. In the case, video showed a man stealing a motorcycle tire off a rack at a motorcycle shop.

The shop owner who got his tire back said, “I know that it is probably an injustice that cops worked as hard and as tirelessly as they did, but at the end of the day, I got my stuff back and brought some awareness to the community that, do something wrong, we will catch you. That’s where I stand on it.”

News 2 reached out to the Lewis County D.A., Hans L. Schwendimann, who wrote: “It’s my understanding that you’ve reached out to my office concerning Lewis County General Sessions Judge Mike Hinson and his practice of dismissing misdemeanor cases without the consent of the State. Please accept my statement as follows: ‘The District Attorney’s Office is reviewing each case individually and will act accordingly.'”

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The Hohenwald police have no official statement, but News 2 has learned that many of these dismissed crimes will be re-presented to the grand jury for reconsideration.

A check of the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct for the last four years shows the name Michael Hinson three times.

September 2021: Michael Hinson was suspended 30 days for using crude language from the bench (Violation of the code of judicial conduct, failing to be patient dignified and courteous, and failing to act in a manner that promotes public confidence).

December 15th, 2020: Judge Hinson was publicly reprimanded for not enforcing COVID rules in the courtroom according to judicial guidelines.

May 9th, 2018: He was publicly reprimanded for dismissing citations written by the THP without request of law enforcement authorities or the D.A.’s office. The judge was ordered to complete a judicial ethics program.