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 Holds Open House Thursday

The Chattanooga Chamber’s Open House on Thursday will engage chamber members with a tabletop EXPO, tours of the Chamber offices, and a farewell celebration for outgoing Chamber CEO Ron Harr. With more than 700 attendees last year, the Chamber expects a large turnout from the business community. The open house will be from   4-6 p.m.   with a reception from ... (click for more)

Haslam Receives Employment First Task Force Report

Governor Bill Haslam announced the completion of the Employment First Task Force report that outlines the steps the task force will take to expand integrated, competitive employment for people with disabilities as well as progress the group has already made. Formed last year when the governor signed Executive Order No. 28, the task force is comprised of state agencies, families, ... (click for more)

EPB Says "Close To A Wash" On City Street Light Billing

EPB President Harold DePriest denied Wednesday that EPB owes the city over $1 million on street light billing. He stated,  “EPB has never said that we owe the city $1.2 million. When all the facts are taken into account, the financial difference is close to a wash.” Mr. DePriest said, "I regret that this complicated issue has been oversimplified in some reports. As we’ve ... (click for more)

New Red Bank Zoning Ordinance Is Ready For Review

The new Red Bank zoning ordinance is ready for review, City Manager Randall Smith said Tuesday night. It can be seen on www.redbanktn.gov and the link to zoning regulations. The new ordinance will replace one that was created 30 years ago.    The plan will encompass both residential and commercial development and is intended to direct ... (click for more)

Why So Much For A Rail Study? - And Response

From the things that make you go hmm department. Ok, so the feds are giving us $400k and the city is kicking in another $300k for a total of $700k to do a study on having in town rail service. Why so much for a study? Don't get me wrong, I'm totally down with Chattanooga having some passenger trains running around. I get that. It's awesome. We've needed it for a long time. I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Aunt Martha

During my first year at Ole Miss, I was so distracted by the stunning coeds on campus that I paid too much attention to the wrong kind of figures. I ended up flubbing a math class, which at the time was most serious and potentially deadly for an American boy. It meant I didn't have enough credit hours to avoid the draft and in almost no time I got a red, gut-retching postcard that ... (click for more)