December 1, 2011
WELL, THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR THE LOCAL BENCH AND BAR: Flawed handling of torture-slaying cases raises questions about rest of judge’s docket. “Blackwood said a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation probe of Baumgartner revealed the former judge confessed to a doctor in 2008 that he was a pill addict and had been committing crimes almost daily until that investigation forced him off the bench earlier this year.” Is it really possible that nobody knew about this before?
UPDATE: A lawyer/reader emails: “Knew? Yes. Willing to say something? No. He’s Baumgartner. No one wants to take on a judge, generally. Co-workers fear being fired. Lawyers fear retribution.”
You’d think someone could have at least tipped off an investigative reporter or something.
ANOTHER UPDATE: So I wonder. In the Henry Granju case, the Knox County law enforcement apparatus seemed extremely uninterested in doing any digging. Now we find out about Judge Baumgartner’s prescription drug issues at about the same time, and I wonder: Were they uninterested in doing digging in Henry’s case because they feared they’d find a connection to Baumgartner? The circles of prescription-drug addicts and peddlers in Knox County aren’t that big, so it wouldn’t be shocking to worry about that. Perhaps we’ll find out.