Friday, December 02, 2011

Judicial System Shattered in Knox County

The Knox County judicial system was pretty much demolished yesterday by the details of the lengthy drug addiction of Judge Richard Baumgartner, details which led to the inevitable decision that new trials are necessary for four previously convicted killers in the grisly Christian-Newsom murder case. That case already is marked as one of the more heinous criminal acts in recent Knox history, but Judge Baumgartner's intense level of intoxication - which he experienced for years on the bench according to the TBI investigation - should rattle everyone in the county to their core.

The information revealed yesterday indicates so many levels in law enforcement and in the judicial system knew about this travesty and yet years passed before the judge was removed from the bench with the most minor of consequences.

WATE-TV has a blistering report on how bad Judge Baumgartner's behavior truly was:

"... Judge Baumgartner was taking up to 30 hydrocodone pills a day.

"Baumgartner's physician, Dr. Dean Conley, with Knoxville Gastroenterology, tried to wean Baumgartner off his addiction, referred him to another doctor and urged him to retire in 2008. Baumgartner admitted his addiction, but said he needed another three years on the bench.

Dr. Conley described Baumgartner's appearance at that time as "ghastly."

The TBI found Baumgartner was doctor shopping. Eight doctors were eventually prescribing hydrocodone, oxycodone and other pills to him. This was going on from 2006 through 2010.
"There is no other conclusion but that Baumgartner was operating on the bench as incapable since 2008, Judge Blackwood said.
Baumgartner "shouldn't have been on the bench in 2008," Judge Blackwood said. "Everything he's done since then, we're going to have to fight that battle."

 And we've just barely touched the edges of how extensive this judicial disaster will reach.

Glenn Reynolds and Aunt B. note that decisions were apparently made in the Knox Co. Sheriff's Department to ignore Baumgartner's connection to other crimes. Some more questions which need to be answered via Katie Granju.

As for Baumgartner - he was removed from the bench, but the court at that time also ruled that his record would be wiped clean after 2 years and he'll still get his pension.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:25 AM

    Put the judge(no capital needed here) in the same holding room with every convict who comes back for retrial. About 1 hr, one on one, with everyone who comes back.