Johnson City Press Friday, October 24, 2014
Regional & National

Knoxville paper seeks records on drug-abusing judge who presided over double murder case

November 11th, 2011 3:37 pm by Staff Report

KNOXVILLE (AP) — A court filing by The Knoxville News Sentinel seeks to unseal records on a former judge who presided in a high-profile murder case and was later discovered to be abusing drugs.

Four defendants were convicted, including one who received the death penalty, in the January 2007 torture slayings of Channon Christian, 21, and Christopher Newsom, 23.

The presiding judge, Richard Baumgartner, later resigned and pleaded guilty to official misconduct after an investigation showed he bought prescription painkillers from a probationer in his court.

Attorneys for the murder defendants were given the sealed records and contend they show there should be new trials. A hearing is set Dec. 1.

The newspaper in the Thursday filing said "to cloak this (information) in secrecy is an error of constitutional proportions." (http://bit.ly/sGuGZC )

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