Skip to comments.DA: Judge Blackwood wrong to order new Christian/Newsom trials (Judge ignores St Supreme Ct)
Posted on 06/04/2012 3:20:15 PM PDT by abb
KNOXVILLE A special judge has decided to again grant new trials in one of Knoxvilles most high-profile cases, and state prosecutors are responding by asking him to step down from the case.
A motion filed late Friday afternoon in Knox County Criminal Court reveals that Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood is planning to enter an order granting new trials in the January 2007 torture slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23, without holding a hearing and despite a recent state Supreme Court ruling faulting his legal reasoning.
Assistant District Attorney General Leland Price, in turn, is asking Blackwood to recuse himself from the case, accusing the special judge of all manner of judicial misconduct.
The willful failure of this court to follow the Tennessee Supreme Courts guidance indicates this court has lost all semblance of fairness and impartiality, Price wrote. The courts clearly stated and predetermined position is that new trials will be granted regardless of any law, evidence or argument to the contrary.
Blackwood granted each of four defendants in the Christian/Newsom case new trials in December. He cited two reasons the misconduct of former Judge Richard Baumgartner, who presided over the original trials, created structural error that deprived the defendants a constitutionally sound trial and, because Baumgartner had not yet approved the verdicts as 13th juror, Blackwood opined he could not step into that role.
Baumgartner stepped down after a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe revealed he was committing crimes including doctor shopping, buying pills from a felon and using his mistress a graduate of his Drug Court program to procure more pills.
(Excerpt) Read more at knoxnews.com ...
Juries aren’t the panels of bright, aware citizens that they were in yesteryear. Now they are mushroom farms in carefully controlled darkness, or violins that are inert unless skillfully played. So a judge’s taint does carry over to juries today.
It is cryingly grievous cases like this which set the law that operates in more “normal” situations. Don’t think for one second that any career prosecutor would settle for less. It is up to the courts to be level headed, or nobody will be.
No, he is not the only judge in East TN with a sobriety problem, by a long sight.
There is at least one circuit court judge who has had alcohol problems, and most recently an appeals court judge with a pending DUI, but it thus far has not impacted his ability to be a judge, and may never.