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Special judge grants new trials for torture-slaying defendants, cites Baumgartner's conduct
Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | December 1, 2011 | News Sentinel Staff

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.

(Excerpt) Read more at knoxnews.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: channonchristian; christophernewsom; knoxville; tennessee
The crimes were vile and inhuman. It will be torture for the families of the victims to do it all over.
1 posted on 12/01/2011 11:28:02 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
The victims were a young Knoxville couple, Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian. They were mutilated and tortured before being killed.


2 posted on 12/01/2011 11:31:32 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

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.


3 posted on 12/01/2011 11:33:08 AM PST by Noamie
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To: Noamie

I’m afraid the rule is that the sentences can only be reduced or reaffirmed.


4 posted on 12/01/2011 11:35:55 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
"The crimes were vile and inhuman. It will be torture for the families of the victims to do it all over.

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.

5 posted on 12/01/2011 11:44:40 AM PST by In Maryland ("If stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out?" - Mark Twain)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Now here’s a Judge who needs a late night visit from some of the victim’s family members.


6 posted on 12/01/2011 11:48:28 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

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.


7 posted on 12/01/2011 11:50:03 AM PST by Engraved-on-His-hands
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To: In Maryland
It sounds like a bad TV western where the old corrupt judge is drun on the bench. But if the argument is that the guy didn't serve as the “13th juror” and review the sentences, it seems the only thing that would need be repeated is the sentencing phase of the proceedings. The twelve jurors who weighed the evidence and pronounced guilt are not being questioned.
8 posted on 12/01/2011 11:51:06 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
This is disgusting and grotesque beyond belief.

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.

9 posted on 12/01/2011 11:56:50 AM PST by mojito
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

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.


10 posted on 12/01/2011 12:01:04 PM PST by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
This sets my blood on fire.

If they were my kids, there would be 4 dead you know whats.

WTF is a "special judge"?

11 posted on 12/01/2011 12:07:28 PM PST by Post5203 (Our political class have sullied a good man's name...Washington)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
"It sounds like a bad TV western where the old corrupt judge is drun on the bench. But if the argument is that the guy didn't serve as the “13th juror” and review the sentences, it seems the only thing that would need be repeated is the sentencing phase of the proceedings. The twelve jurors who weighed the evidence and pronounced guilt are not being questioned.

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 ...

12 posted on 12/01/2011 12:08:28 PM PST by In Maryland ("If stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out?" - Mark Twain)
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To: In Maryland
Yes, I think Judge Blackwood saw the handwriting on the wall and the sooner the inevitable gets started the sooner it's over for good.
13 posted on 12/01/2011 12:11:25 PM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Lurker
Now here’s a Judge who needs a late night visit from some of the victim’s family members.


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.

14 posted on 12/01/2011 12:14:36 PM PST by rdcbn
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

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.


15 posted on 12/01/2011 12:45:12 PM PST by JimSEA (The future ain't what it used to be.)
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To: Post5203
WTF is a "special judge"?

If Baumgartner is an example, I would say a judge who travels to work on the short bus.

16 posted on 12/01/2011 12:45:42 PM PST by magslinger (Who cares if they are"electable" if they are going to govern like Democrats? -noprogs)
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To: Post5203
This sets my blood on fire. If they were my kids, there would be 4 dead you know whats. WTF is a "special judge"?

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.

17 posted on 12/01/2011 1:48:06 PM PST by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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To: cva66snipe

Bringing this case back will just show people the need to defend themselves.


18 posted on 12/01/2011 1:52:59 PM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: JimSEA
Could these scum actually “walk”?

Surely not. But you never know. You always worry about the jury.

19 posted on 12/01/2011 2:14:20 PM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: AppyPappy
Bringing this case back will just show people the need to defend themselves.

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..

20 posted on 12/01/2011 3:16:30 PM PST by cva66snipe (Two Choices left for U.S. One Nation Under GOD or One Nation Under Judgment? Which one say ye?)
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