► Former Judge Thomas A. Austin of Kingston, TN; extortionist, convict Print E-mail
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Former Judge Thomas A. Austin of Kingston, TN; extortionist, convict

In 1978, then Gov. Ray Blanton appointed Tommy to the bench. Gov. Blanton, who wound up in prison for corruption, apparently saw that Tommy had the same corrupt attributes he did.
For nearly 30 years (1976 – 2006) Thomas A. Austin was a sitting Roane County Judge. During his worthless tenure on the bench, Tommy was found guilty of engaging in the following misconduct which led to him being sentenced to 42-months in a federal penitentiary.
Tommy admitted that he extorted kickbacks of at least $14,000 from two driving schools in Roane County and a probation firm. Tommy handpicked the directors of the traffic schools where he sent traffic violators for remedial instruction at $50 a pop. Some insiders claimed that bribes that Tommy extorted over the years exceeded $100,000.
Tommy’s downfall began when the Feds taped him saying the following:
  1. “All the shit I’ve pulled. I’ve pulled every shit thing in the book”
  2. “See back when I first started [1968], you didn’t have to worry about that. They didn’t have no court judiciary and all that shit”
  3. “I’ve granted girls divorces in the morning and fucked them that afternoon” 
Tommy’s Hyperbolic (BS) Defenses
While married his second wife, Tommy learned she was involved in an extramarital lesbian relationship. After being caught on tape by the FBI, Tommy had the chutzpah to defend his extortionist conduct by claiming it was his wife’s affair with a woman that drove him over the edge. Clearly, Tommy missed his calling as a standup comedian.
The extortion and his admissions on tape prove his criminal conduct began well before his second wife was involved in such an affair.
Johnny served his federal sentence but his law license was revoked, meaning he was denied an opportunity to earn a dishonest living as an attorney.
Had it not been for former Gov. Blanton, the good folks in Roane County might have been spared the indignity of having a felon sitting on the court. This is exactly what ya get when the only requirement to become a judge is evidence that you’ve been a compliant and reliable lackey for the local political hacks.
As we speak (April 30, 2012) it is rumored that Tommy is employed as a driving instructor for Drive-Rite driving school during the day and as a bartender at the Emerald Strip Club at night, both of which are located in Knoxville.

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