Shocking revelations about Judge Baumgartner's addiction and behavior during the original trial result in new trials for all four defendants convicted for the Christian-Newsom murders, including one currently on death row.

UPDATE: WATE with the disturbing details...

jcadden76's picture

Are you really surprised that

Are you really surprised that they are going to retry these criminals? When the judge is as deep in the drug scene as it appears that he was, you have to retry the criminals.

R. Neal's picture

No, they should absolutely

No, they should absolutely get new trials. I'm surprised by the new info revealed about Baumgartner and how much worse it is than we were being told and how many people apparently knew about it while the trials were going on.

Hildegard's picture

My head hurts too. My stomach

My head hurts too. My stomach hurts more. As far as I know, nobody in the courthouse knew RB was abusing painkillers. There are a lot of things about this situation that are deeply disturbing, but the rumor mill is going to blow before any reasonable analysis of who knew what can be made.

A few words about the defense lawyers so vilified by the drooling masses of KNS commenters: the lawyers defending these cases are of the highest ethical and professional integrity. Tom Dillard is one of the best lawyers in Tennessee, and one of the great gentlemen I have ever met. Scott Green and Doug Trant are brilliant. These guys don't take appointed cases; they get paid huge fees to represent their clients. But only the best lawyers are qualified to defend capital cases, and these select lawyers were asked by the judge to accept the appointment to defend these people, and they basically had to give up a year of their practice to do the job right. They literally got nothing out of it other than notoriety and scorn, but they went into it because of their sense of justice and regard for due process. Hard to believe among the more cynical and ignorant in society, but there are still lawyers who care about things like that. It cost them money (they were paid barely enough to cover the cost of litigation); it cost them business; I have personal knowledge that it put a strain on their families and relationships, not to mention the personal emotional toll. Because of the lynch-mob mentality of assholes like the ppl who comment on KNS and who manage to blog despite severe grammatical and intellectual limitations, these lawyers were subjected to death threats, even threats to their families. Anybody who thinks those guys (and Kim Parton, ace woman lawyer) look forward to going through that again is a clueless pinheaded shitferbrains with no concept of what it takes to defend a capital case, and no respect for either the rule of law or the liberties protected by our Constitution.

R. Neal's picture



redmondkr's picture

Tell me again about Tennessee

Tell me again about Tennessee being the most corrupt state in the union.

bizgrrl's picture

Exactly. I find it hard to

Exactly. I find it hard to believe that there are not people surrounding Baumgartner or have worked in his courts that didn't know more than they are letting on and could be held liable for some of this problem.

If you've been around Knoxville any length of time, surely you have a story of your own to tell about the corrupt legal system.

Hildegard's picture

Fwiw, Baumgartner supervised

Fwiw, Baumgartner supervised only Criminal Court cases in Drug Court, not Sessions Court cases.

Bird_dog's picture

District Attorney

I tried to find out more about the DA's responsibility in this fiasco... There are no active links on the Knox County website going to the DA's office. It took quite a bit of searching to find anything about the DA. Many links are inactive. To the question of what responsibility DA Nichols had in the trials in "JB's" courtroom, I can find no direct statement. But as an attorney, he is held to a higher standard in his role as DA. And I know from watching too much television that every attorney is an officer of the court and responsible for the process...

quote from the TN AG Conference page - the only citation I was able to find...

Who does the District Attorney General work for?
The District Attorney General works for the people of the State of Tennessee and is elected for an eight year term by the qualified voters of their judicial district. District Attorneys are subject to the same ethical standards as any other licensed attorney, in fact more so.

B Harmon's picture

Are the people being served?

This may be an overly obvious issue but I feel a need to share it.

Of course anyone that appeared before Judge Baumgarner and was found guilty (during the time he was considered impaired) can now ask for a new trial. However, anyone that was found innocent, no matter what the evidence, is protected by double jeopardy, and rightly so in most circumstances. Since we have been looking at Randy Nichols and his possible knowledge of an impaired judge trying cases, doesn't that mean that he, Nichols, really did not have the protection of the people of Knox County as his priority?

Do we know if any of the drug dealers that were supplying Baumgarner with his pills ever appeared before him in a trial setting?

Andy Axel's picture

Or perhaps, more to the

Or perhaps, more to the point, did he take any pains to be certain that his suppliers did not appear in Knox County court?

fischbobber's picture


There seem to be several different standards being applied to addicts and enablers. Does it really matter if one is homeless, or powerful, or young and privileged? Are we going to apply the same shifting sets of standards to cancer patients?

B Harmon's picture

Continuing investigation?

I wonder if there are more things being investigated by the TBI that were uncovered during this one. It seems that when this rock got turned over, a whole bunch of things crawled out and only one was Baumgartner. From physicians to law enforcement to others in the justice system... wonder how many have now 'lawyered up' just in case they are targeted?

And on a side note, I feel sorry for Baumgartner's family. Does anyone know if he is currently married? If so, it must have been hell to live with this man during this time.

Average Guy's picture

We've only seen a tenth of the current one

Further investigation may result in new information, but I’d be satisfied with seeing the redacted 1,045 pages of the completed investigation.

As long as the TBI report is in the hands of the State and local authorities, this is, and will remain a cover-up.

Get the Feds involved, get the Gibson guy witness protection and get the story out. The dam will burst. Better to deal with it all at once instead of wasting time sticking a finger in the dyke as the leaks and information spring up one at a time.

And did anyone else notice how little play this got on the WBIR and WATE Sunday shows? The WBIR show with Don Bosch had nothing.

R. Neal's picture

I think those Sunday shows

I think those Sunday shows are taped earlier in the week, most likely before all this news came out.

Average Guy's picture

Fair enough. Thought they

Fair enough. Thought they both taped on Fridays.

But still, I wonder how the story will be told without that TBI report.

While fairly autonomous from the governor, I’d think the State AG doesn’t want to be the one to show the seedy underside of the Governor’s home city. I’m sure Blackwood isn’t excited about showing the rest of the population what he “didn’t read”. And I’m sure Nichols would like to have one of those Men in Black mind “redactors” for all of Knox.

Will the press get a chance to request a FOIA on this report? Will defense council for the new trials be able to get this report?

If not, how do Knox citizens know if their taxes are being spent on not only a blind, but also deaf and dumb judicial system and “law enforcement” that engages in narcotics transactions as Gibson claimed?

After all, the TBI wasn’t investigating the activities of Chipman St, they were investigating circumstances surrounding Baumgartner. Circumstances that include at least 1,000 pages of issues nobody in power wants made public.

Rachel's picture

Fair enough. Thought they

Fair enough. Thought they both taped on Fridays.

At least one of them is taped earlier - Wed. or Thurs. evening.

SIERRA's picture


Why on earth should those animals receive another trial. The fact is what they did was proven in the first trial regardless of the judges prescription problem. The jury found them all guilty, which is exactly what they deserve. Why make the families of the victims rehash all the bad memories?? They're children are at peace and thought they reached justice. The defendants don't deserve another chance, a chance to what? The evidence is all there. Whatever happens I hope they receive the exact punishment they're living in now.
R.I.P Channon&Chris:)

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