Circuit Court Judges
Tennessee’s trial courts include Chancery, Criminal, Circuit and Probate Courts. Currently, there are 156 trial and probate judges within the 31 Judicial Districts in Tennessee. Williamson, Hickman, Lewis, and Perry Counties comprise the 21st Judicial District.
In the 21st Judicial District, there are Chancery and Circuit Courts. Probate matters are filed in Chancery Court, and criminal matters are filed in Circuit Court. The Judges of the 21st Judicial District are all designated as Circuit Judges. These Judges sit as Chancellors when holding Chancery Court. There are five divisions of the Circuit Court of the 21st Judicial District, with a separate Judge for each division.
Judge Joseph A. Woodruff sits in Division I; Judge James G. Martin III sits in Division II; Judge Michael W. Binkley sits in Division III; Judge Deanna Bell Johnson sits in Division IV; and Judge Michael E. Spitzer sits in Division V. The Judges of Divisions I through IV are assigned responsibility for all civil and criminal dockets in Williamson County. Division V is assigned responsibility for all civil and criminal dockets in Hickman, Lewis, and Perry Counties.
In Williamson County, all criminal cases are divided in Part I and Part II. Judges Woodruff and Binkley manage all of the Part I criminal cases. Judges Martin and Johnson manage all of the Part II criminal cases. All non-criminal cases (including divorces, personal injury, business disputes, declaratory judgments and breach of contracts, among others) are assigned on a random basis at the time of filing to one of the Divisions (I, II, III or IV). The Judge of the assigned Division handles the case through disposition.
Four of the Circuit Court Judges/Chancellors maintain offices in the Williamson County Judicial Center located at 135 Fourth Avenue South in Franklin, Tennessee, while the fifth Circuit Court Judge/Chancellor maintains offices at 105 East 4th Avenue in Hohenwald, Tennessee. These offices are staffed by five Judicial Legal Assistants, namely, Cathy Barton for Division I; Karen Card for Division II; Deborah Rubenstein, PLS/CLP for Division III; Stacy Green, Paralegal, for Division IV; and Hans Schwendimann, JD, for Division V. Their office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.