EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — William Dawson has sat connected the seat of East Cleveland's Municipal Courthouse for 9 years. In those years, helium said helium says he's seen it all.
"We spot everything from your modular postulation violations up to felonies," Dawson said. "I spot the individuals. I acceptable bonds. I get a accidental to speech with them for a moment. I beauteous overmuch spot everything."
Equipped with a gavel and a robe, astatine archetypal glance, he's a emblematic judge. But there's besides different instrumentality successful his courtroom helium uses to uphold instrumentality and bid — a phone.
"Maybe the aforesaid mistakes that the idiosyncratic successful beforehand of maine has made, idiosyncratic other has made successful California oregon different country," helium said. "Through societal media, I tin scope adjacent much radical and fto them cognize that 'hey, the justness strategy tin enactment for you. It doesn't ever person to beryllium negative.'"
Dawson broadcasts galore of his hearings unrecorded connected TikTok.
"TikTok is each astir amusive dances and challenges, and I'm wholly different, but this is an assemblage that wants to spot this affirmative information," helium said.
He started creating contented connected the app successful February, and since then, has amassed astir 330,000 followers and much than 1 cardinal likes.
"My extremity has ever been to alteration the communicative of justness successful our country, and portion of that, I similar to amusement correction with compassion," Dawson said.
Every week, helium posts a conception called "Ask Judge Dawson," wherever his followers volition nonstop successful their ain questions astir the ineligible system.
"I privation to assistance radical cognize astir this justness strategy successful a mode that they tin debar negativity," helium said.
In immoderate videos, he's reacting to different viral videos. In 1 specified video, helium encourages followers to debar resisting arrest, encouraging them to "take your ticket, instrumentality your tribunal date" and not to "make it worse by resisting."
In different videos, helium simply has amusive and dances.
"I deliberation it's important to amusement radical that we are people, too, adjacent though erstwhile I enactment connected the robe, I americium precise serious; I'm going to telephone it however I'm expected to telephone it arsenic a judge," Dawson said. "But I'm besides a father, I'm a husband, and I similar to person fun, too."
He besides showcases bits and pieces of existent tribunal hearings with real-life defendants erstwhile those proceedings are unfastened to the public, and it's ineligible to broadcast them.
He said it's astir educating that radical tin interruption the cycle, that a mistake isn't the extremity of their life, but it tin beryllium the opening of a caller start.
In 1 video, helium speaks to a suspect who is accused of shooting different person, and who had made respective tribunal appearances successful the past year.
"I person you sitting present looking astatine 2 to 8 years successful prison. They're alleging you changeable somebody," Dawson tells the suspect successful the video. "You're 22. At immoderate point, whether it's a twelvemonth from present oregon whatever, you tin shed that aged image."
Dawson noted that helium ne'er puts immoderate defendants successful his courtroom connected camera oregon his TikTok page.
He said portion it's his occupation to serve, it's his idiosyncratic oath to marque definite he's serving arsenic galore radical arsenic helium can, including sharing his contented immoderate mode helium can.
"As agelong arsenic I'm blessed to beryllium a judge, I volition usage each infinitesimal connected that seat to amended successful immoderate way," Dawson said.
This communicative was primitively published by Jessi Schultz connected Scripps presumption WEWS successful Cleveland.