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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Former Judge Arrested on Federal Charges

Former TN judge arrested on federal charges
WSMV - The Associated Press - May 16, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - A former Tennessee judge who authorities say was addicted to prescription painkillers has been indicted on federal charges that he did not report the commission of a felony. The U.S. attorney's office in Knoxville said in a statement that former Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner entered a plea of not guilty to the seven counts of misprision of a felony during his court hearing Tuesday. Kristin Helm, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said he was arrested by TBI agents on Tuesday afternoon without incident in Knox County. Helm said it was part of an ongoing investigation into Baumgartner, who resigned from the bench and pleaded guilty to official misconduct last year. A TBI investigation found he was having sex and buying pills during courtroom breaks.

RELATED STORY:

Former Judge Richard Baumgartner faces 7 federal counts of failing to report felonious activity
The Knoxville News Sentinel -  May 15, 2012

KNOXVILLE, TN - — Former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner, already serving a state two-year diversion term on an official misconduct charge, now faces seven federal counts that allege he failed to report felonious activity. According to the charges, the judge “by omission and co-mission” concealed evidence of a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. The counts address instances in which he had contact with an Anderson County judge, a Knox County General Sessions Court judge, a Knox County prosecutor, hospital personnel at what is now Physicians Regional Medical Center in North Knoxville, a YWCA official and a Knox County Juvenile Court magistrate.  The formal charges are “misprision of a felony,” the legal lineage of which can be traced to England.

A 2010 TBI investigation showed Baumgartner, 65, in some instances sought out people, including Anderson County Judge Don Elledge, Knox County General Sessions Court Judge Andy Jackson and prosecutor Jeff Blevins for help intervening in the court cases of people who were providing him drugs.  Evidence also showed Baumgartner would go to the hospital, then known as St. Mary’s Medical Center, to visit Deena Castleman, a participant in the Drug Court that he oversaw and with whom he was sharing drugs and having sex. Hospital personnel reported seeing him go into Castleman’s room and spend extended periods of time with her while the door was shut.  Baumgartner was arrested today and brought into federal court downtown to face the charges. He was accompanied in court by attorney Donald A. Bosch. He pleaded not guilty.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley agreed to Baumgartner’s release — with conditions. For example, he must undergo a drug and alcohol assessment.  If convicted, he faces a term of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The New York native, who served as a Knox County Criminal Court judge from 1992 to 2011, first came under probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in late 2010 when the ex-wife of Christopher Gibson, a felon on probation in Baumgartner’s court, revealed she had secretly taken a photograph of the judge’s car in Gibson’s Gap Road driveway.  Darlene Gibson told authorities Baumgartner had been buying prescription painkillers from Christopher Gibson and having trysts at Gibson’s house with a graduate of the Drug Court program Baumgartner helped found.  When confronted by the TBI in January 2011, Baumgartner abruptly went on medical leave.  In March 2011, he struck a deal to plead guilty to official misconduct for buying hundreds of pills from Gibson.  There was no mention then of other discoveries by the TBI of allegations of more misconduct, including doctor shopping, Castleman to procure pills, having sex with her in chambers and trying to influence judges and prosecutors to go easy on her in her own criminal cases.  The News Sentinel uncovered even more accusations of misconduct, including claims the judge used his position to acquire prescription painkillers from a bailiff and court clerk.  Baumgartner’s state plea agreement specifically barred the filing of additional state charges as a result of the TBI probe. But it did not preclude a federal prosecution.  In the state case, Baumgartner avoided both jail time and a felony conviction when Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood granted him judicial diversion. The judge withheld entering a conviction in the case. Under diversion, a defendant who remains trouble-free can eventually have his record expunged.  Diversion for Baumgartner meant he could keep his state pension.  If he is charged and convicted in federal court, however, that pension would be on the chopping block.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

The old MISPRISON OF FELONY. There should be a lot more of it. A great concept that corrupt insiders don't find convenient. They don't like turning their fellow crooks in. Arrest more judges and you'll clean up the system right quick.

Searching For Rule Of Law In America said...

under NY penal code (NY PL 155.05) grand larceny by extortion is a felony...

specifically 155.05(e)(e) states:

By extortion.
A person obtains property by extortion when he compels or induces another person to deliver such property to himself or to a third person by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor or another will:
(i) Cause physical injury to some person in the future; or
(ii) Cause damage to property; or
(iii) Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or
(iv) Accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges to be
instituted against him; or
...
...

(viii) Use or abuse his position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely;

in my matter, during the proceedings of october 2006, and thru april 2007 judge Latia W. Martin did make extortionate threats in court and on the record to force me to effect the sale of real property i owned as tenant by the entireties under NY law...

under her protection, attorney Janette A. Baxter made extortionate and coercive threats which, incredibly enough she left on a phone answering machine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDtjugInCzA

yet Martin is still judging, and Baxter is still practicing...

the District Court was made aware of these facts... the Circuit Appeals Court was made aware of these facts... and the SCOTUS wasn't interested in hearing these facts..

i've filed a DOJ complaint, and my next step is a criminal complaint to the Westchester DA...

you're damn right... MISPRISON OF FELONY IS A CRIME... all of the officials up the chain have been made aware of the facts...

lets just see how far this is gonna be allowed to continue...

--Michael A. Hense is Searching For Rule Of Law In America

jail4judges said...

Brother Mike, that's why we say jail them all! It's the only way to start the clean-up!

Anonymous said...

They forgot to punish the judge's accessory to his crimes, the TN sentencing judge, "Baumgartner avoided both jail time and a felony conviction when Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood granted him judicial diversion. ... can eventually have his record expunged ... keep his state pension." Both judges belong in jail for federal felonies.

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