|Former Judge Richard Baumgartner of Knoxville, TN; convicted druggie|
Former Judge Richard Baumgartner of Knoxville, TN; convicted druggie
For nearly 20 years (ca. 1992 to 2011), Richard Baumgartner was a criminal court judge in Knoxville.
In early 2011, Judge Baumgartner pleaded guilty to a single criminal count of official misconduct.
After he was convicted Dick admitted that for the final two years on the bench, he was having sex and buying pills during courtroom breaks. At time Dick purchased illicit drugs from convicts he had previously sentenced. It must be comforting to everyone in the Knoxville area that appeared before Dick the Convict was purchasing his drugs from fellow convicts. One of the illicit drugs that Dick was taking was Oxycontin, a Schedule II controlled substance.
One of Dick’s suppliers was Deena Castleman who was a graduate of Dick’s drug court. Castleman told authorities that she regularly supplied the married judge with pills and sex, sometimes during breaks from court. She told FBI agents that she and Dick even engaged in sexual activity several times in the judge’s chambers. Isn’t that just special?
Because Judicial Misfits are held to a much lower standard of criminal conduct then everyone else in Tennessee, Dick wasn’t sentenced to any jail time. He was sentenced to “judicial diversion” by Judge Blackwood. While sentencing Dick, Judge Blackwood had the chutzpah to say “It is with heavy heart that I sentence you to this term of judicial diversion.” Clearly Blackwood missed his calling as a standup comedian!
Due to Dick’s drug-induced condition while on the bench, one judge has already tossed out the convictions from the 2007 slayings of a young Knoxville couple and ordered new trials. Other defendants are hoping for similar outcomes. “We’re getting pleadings almost daily from people filing habeas corpus say, Let me out, too. It’s raining over here,” said Knox County DA Randy Nichols.
In addition to hosing Tennessee taxpayers for a lifetime pension, Dick has hosed them again for the costs of retrying an untold number of criminal cases. Isn’t Tennessee a great country?
There is no indication that the Supreme Court took any action against Dick’s law license, meaning he is able to practice law.