Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013 Former Knox Judge Richard Baumgartner Reports to Federal Prison

Disgraced Knox County Judge Criminal Judge Richard Baumgartner has reported to a minimum security federal prison in West Virginia to serve a six-month sentence following his conviction in federal court for lying to investigators to cover up pill-buys from his mistress.

The News-Sentinel story is here.

Baumgartner presided over a series of trials in connection with the carjacking, torture, rape, and murder of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.  State charges were brought when the TBI came in and investigated his pill-usage and purchases from his mistress Deena Castleman who was a "graduate" of the Drug Court established by Baumgartner.

Baumgartner negotiated a plea deal on the state charges where he pled guilty to official misconduct, resigned from the bench, and received diversion.

Federal charges were then brought and Baumgartner was convicted in federal court of misprision. He is appealing that conviction but elected to go on and serve his sentence while the appeals process  moves forward.

In a related story, former DA Al Schmutzer expressed relief over the recent conviction of George Thomas following his re-trial in the Christian-Newsom case. Schmutzer was not involved in the Christian-Newsom trials but acted as the special prosecutor in the state case against Baumgartner and negotiated a plea deal where Baumgartner would resign from the bench, plea guilty to official misconduct, and receive diversion which would allow his record to be wiped clean if his record remained out of trouble for two years. The interview with Schmutzer is here.

Previous blog posts and links to stories about Baumgartner are here.

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