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Local legal icon honored

Sinrich hits 23 years of service; portrait of judge to hang in courtroom

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POSTED: April 27, 2011 9:13 a.m.
Denise Etheridge/

Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas, center, and District 5 City Councilman Kenneth Shaw, right, congratulate Sinrich on his 23 years of service after unveiling the judge’s portrait.

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Municipal Court Judge Gary Sinrich was honored Tuesday for his 23 years of service to the city of Hinesville. Sinrich told those assembled that he loves his job and does not plan to retire anytime soon. Municipal court is held at 8 a.m. every Wednesday.
“It hasn’t really been any work,” Sinrich said. The judge said he has been privileged to work with “four progressive mayors,” former Mayors Buddy Deloach, Alan Brown and Tom Ratcliffe and current Mayor Jim Thomas.
Sinrich said Hinesville’s mayors allowed him to do his job “the way I saw fit.”
“I try to help people and send the right message, particularly with young people,” he said.
The judge said he’s used some unorthodox methods to steer young offenders straight, such as imposing certain requirements on them and dismissing their case after they’ve completed their court-assigned obligations.
“They still get punished but don’t have a conviction on their record,” Sinrich said. “It’s worked well.”
Some of these former youth offenders have gone on to college or enlisted in the military, he said.
The ceremony to honor Sinrich was held in the municipal courtroom on the ground floor of the Hinesville Police Department. Thomas and District 5 City Councilman Kenneth Shaw unveiled a portrait of Sinrich, which will be hung in the courtroom. The painting was commissioned and paid for by local lawyers, “friends of Judge Sinrich,” Shaw said.
Shaw said Hinesville attorney Bob Pirkle came to him with the request to hang a portrait of the judge in the courtroom, and he then went to the mayor.
Thomas said Sinrich has a stellar reputation, both as a judge and as a Vietnam veteran. Sinrich served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from April 1970-March 1971 and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
Similar sentiments were expressed by other city officials.
“It’s been an honor working with him,” Hinesville Police Chief George Stagmeier said. “He’s fair and firm.”
Sinrich was first appointed municipal court judge in November 1987. He also was appointed a special assistant attorney general for the Liberty and Long County Department of Family and Children Services in March 1986 and still serves in this capacity today.
Sinrich graduated from the University of Georgia in 1965 and graduated from the Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law in 1969. He is married to Donna Sinrich. The couple has two grown children, William and Shayna.

 

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