Lee Davis: An End To The Baumgartner Saga As Jury Convicts Disgraced Judge

Saturday, November 10, 2012 - by Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis

A federal jury in Knoxville, Tennessee voted to convict former Knox County criminal court judge Richard Baumgartner, who was charged with lying to cover up a scheme that provided him with painkillers and sex.

The verdict meant that the former judge was found guilty on five counts of misprision of a felony and acquitted of one charge. Prosecutors were successfully able to convince the jury that Baumgartner had lied to cover up a conspiracy involving a defendant from his court supplying him with pills and sex. Baumgartner’s defense conceded he was an addict and adulterer, but unsuccessfully argued that his actions were not a federal crime.

The jury foreperson later spoke about the deliberations and said that jurors were never deadlocked on any of the counts as they debated their verdict, despite a few questions that led some observers to believe they were.

Deliberations lasted nearly 20 hours and many observers wondered what was taking the jury so long. The jury led some to believe they were going to end up deadlocked given a few of the questions they had for the judge. One question asked what they should write on the verdict form if they did not agree. The foreperson said that the question was not asked because of any actual deadlock, but instead asked preemptively, so that she could plan ahead in the event that unanimity was not possible.

The foreperson said that the reason for the delay was the complexity of each count that they had to decide on. For each charge, the jury of 12 people had to come to an agreement on four distinct elements: First there was a drug conspiracy. Second, Baumgartner had full knowledge of it. Third, he failed to report it. Fourth, he then worked to conceal the felony.

Some of the counts were easier for the jury to agree on than others and they ultimately acquitted Baumgartner on Count Two. The foreperson said the reason for that decision was because the crime of misprision deals with lying to federal officials and Count Two involved an incident at St. Mary’s hospital. The jury decided that there were not any federal officials present at the hospital and thus cleared Baumgartner on Count Two.

Read: “Richard Baumgartner Guilty: Jury Convicts Ex-judge In Drug Conspiracy Cover-up,” by The Associated Press, published at HuffingtonPost.com.

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)


Chattanooga Chamber Business Calendar Oct. 3-10

MON/3 Bubbly vs. Brews (A Startup Week Event) 5:30-7:30 p.m. Chattanooga Chamber Alley: 811 Broad St. The purpose of this event is corporate matchmaking with local startups. If you’re a startup, click here to register.   MON/3 – NEWtrepreneur? 10 Bookkeeping Mistakes to Avoid from the Start (StartUp Week) Noon – 1:30 p.m. TN Small Business ... (click for more)

Supreme Court Abolishes Mutuality Element Of Collateral Estoppel

In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court has modified the state’s approach to collateral estoppel – a legal principle governing the relationships and issues between parties that are involved in successive legal proceedings. The decision will prevent a person who has been convicted of a criminal offense from contesting guilt in a subsequent civil lawsuit brought by the ... (click for more)

Boyd Questions Effectiveness Of Read 20 Program; Coppinger Defends It

County Commissioner Tim Boyd said he questions the effectiveness of the Read 20 pre-K literacy program and wants the director to come before the County Commission to answer questions.   County Mayor Jim Coppinger defended the program, noting that it was the creation of former County Mayor Claude Ramsey.   Commissioner Boyd said the low literacy level hearing ... (click for more)

Corker Says Without Budget Reform, Washington Is “Laying A Huge Burden On Future Generations”

In remarks on the Senate floor  on Wednesday , Senator Bob Corker joined a number of colleagues to discuss the broken federal budget process.   “The processes that we have in place make it impossible for us to really deal with our country’s fiscal issues,” said Senator Corker. “Today is the perfect example of that: we pass a continuing resolution ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Knobfather & Me

I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life. I’ve eaten dinner inside the Eiffel Tower with the city of Paris all aglitter below. I’ve been sprayed by champagne in the Dallas Cowboys’ dressing room after they won the Super Bowl. I’ve stood both at the top and at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I’ve snorkeled in the Great Exuma islands, learned to snow ski in the Austrian Alps, and ... (click for more)