Skip to comments.Special judge grants new trials for torture-slaying defendants, cites Baumgartner's conduct
Posted on 12/01/2011 11:27:53 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
KNOXVILLE A special judge today granted new trials for four defendants in the 2007 torture-slaying cases, agreeing with lawyers that presiding Judge Richard Baumgartner's conduct led to fundamental structural flaws in the prosecutions.
Jon Kerry Blackwood, his voice at times rising to a shout, said Baumgartner was obviously intoxicated in 2009 and 2010 while Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman were being prosecuted.
Baumgartner used defendants under his influence to procure pills to satisfy his habit, Blackwood said, citing a TBI investigation. He engaged in sex with one defendant, Deena Castleman, who helped him satisfy his drug habit, driving her around in his car, taking her to Chattanooga during jury selection for one of the torture-slaying defendants, and lying on her behalf after she tested positive for drugs.
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So very true, but if it were my family and the DA assured me that the new judge would give them harder sentences I might be willing to do it.
I’m afraid the rule is that the sentences can only be reduced or reaffirmed.
I agree with you. However, any accused - no matter how vile the crimes - is entitled to a fair trial, and I don't see how they could have gotten a fair trial under a judge who was drugged throughout the proceedings. My heart goes out to the families - but the blame lies squarely on the original trial judge who created the need for this deplorable situation.
Now here’s a Judge who needs a late night visit from some of the victim’s family members.
Even compared to other violent felonies, this wasn’t an ordinary crime. It was one of the most hideous and monstrous crimes of our age and time. This is more than disappointing.
This evil clown of a judge should never have been chosen to preside over a case of this heinousness and magnitude. Clearly, he was out of control and clearly many people knew about it.
I feel sorry for the victims families. The girls dad I think it was just barely held it together for the first trials. Baumgartner himself should be in prison. East Tennessee seems to get some of the sorriest people as judges mainly because it has some of the sorriest lawyers as well.
If they were my kids, there would be 4 dead you know whats.
WTF is a "special judge"?
I haven't really delved into this case, so perhaps the argument is just over sentencing. But if the judge were incapacitated throughout the proceedings, the whole conduct of the trial could be questioned including rulings in admissibility of evidence, rulings on attorney objections, etc.
As with most serious cases, I expect there will be appeal after appeal and, in the long run, it seems to me most efficient to throw the original trial out and start fresh so that the starting point for any appeal is a fair trial conducted by a competent judge. But that's just my opinion ...
I'm quite sure that some of those family members would not object to letting the defendants go free on bail while they await their new trials.
This is very worrisome, a new trial would seem to indicate arguments over admissibility of evidence and even give the defense the grounds to argue denial of a “speedy trial”. Could these scum actually “walk”? I’m by no means a lawyer and these matters concern me.
If Baumgartner is an example, I would say a judge who travels to work on the short bus.
It does mine as well and I'm from this area. Basically Blackwood is a retired judge who was appointed too review Baumgartner's cases. Baumgartner resigned when the scandal of his drug use was fixing to break. It seems Bumgartner was buying drugs from a man who had appeared in his court before. IOW it's a mess.
What burns me up is the kid gloves the judge was handled with. Basically a slap on the wrist and law license pulled. He had health issues which by media accounts lead to his addiction but he still had a choice and a duty too step down before damage was done. That's the problem in our area many of the judges sitting on the bench don't belong there.
This case is fixing too play out like Zoo Man. The eternal trials and re-trials going on for years and true justice doesn't get accomplished.
Bringing this case back will just show people the need to defend themselves.
Surely not. But you never know. You always worry about the jury.
I know the area where the carjacking took place or where they believe it happened. I used to work nights at a convenience store there back in the late 1980's. I always carried and always gave cops free coffee. A year or so after after I left the store one up the street got hit in broad daylight and a clerk killed. The neighborhood where they were taken to be tortured and killed I would not live there without a loaded shotgun in my home and always carrying a concealed firearm when outside..