Disgraced Knox County Criminal Judge Richard Baumgartner is trying to get the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS) to reinstate the $4900/month state pension that he lost upon his conviction in November 2012 on federal charges.
Here's the tale in a nutshell:
1. Baumgartner presided over the series of trials of the various defendants in the horrific Channon Christian-Chris Newsom kidnap, torture, rape, and murder trials.
2. Baumgartner was taking drugs and having Deena Castleman, his mistress and ex-Drug Court graduate, procure drugs for him.
3. A TBI probe resulted in charges against Baumgartner, and he resigned.
4. Baumgartner was charged with public misconduct.
5. He entered into a plea agreement in March 2011 where he pled guilty in return for diversion--which meant that if he kept a clean slate during the two-year probation period, there would be nothing on his "record" and he could keep his $4900/month state pension.
6. Federal officials came in in May 2012 and indicted Baumgartner on federal charges--misprision of a felony.
7. He was convicted in federal court in November 2012 and lost the pension.
8. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March 2013 in connection with the federal conviction.
Now, Baumgartner is trying to get that pension back. Baumgartner's argument in his appeal of the pension decision is that his crimes did not arise out of his "official" duties as judge. Baumgartner maintains that his pension can only be taken away for crimes connected to his role as a judge.
Click here for the N-S article on the TCRS pension.
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