Friday, June 10, 2011

The Baumgartner Issue

6/10/2011 12:57:50 A.M.
By David in TN

[Previously by David in TN: “Cobbins Claims Jail Abuse.”]

Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood said he is ready to address the issue of whether Judge Richard Baumgartner was impaired by a pill addiction when presiding over the four trials in the torture-murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.

Baumgartner earlier this year confessed to being addicted to prescription drugs. In his plea to official misconduct, he admitted to buying pills from a felon under the jurisdiction of his own court from November 2009 to October 2010.

The trials of the four suspects in the Christian-Newsom murders began in August 2009 and ended in May 2010.

Was Baumgartner under the influence of pills when he presided over the trials and hearings, and did this impact his rulings?

Letalvis Cobbins, the first suspect convicted, was today at odds with his attorney, Kim Parton. Parton refused to raise the issue as grounds for a motion for a new trial. She believed Baumgartner was not impaired during Cobbins’ trial and sought to withdraw from representing Cobbins, who insisted she argue he deserved a new trial based on Baumgartner’s alleged drug problem.

Blackwood refused her request and insisted his review of the trial transcript showed no proof Baumgartner was incapable of carrying out his duties. He ordered Parton and the attorneys representing Davidson, Thomas, and Coleman be provided the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s file against Baumgartner to determine whether the defendants were denied a fair trial.

Blackwood set a September 8 hearing, a date already scheduled for Davidson’s motion for a new trial. All four attorneys must decide by that date whether to challenge on the basis of Baumgartner’s mental state.

The judge rejected every other motion for a new trial raised by Parton. He will not formally rule until all the defense attorneys have reviewed whether Baumgartner’s addiction affected the four cases.

This is not the first time Cobbins disagreed with his attorneys. At the start of his August 2009 trial, Cobbins’ attorneys pled him guilty to rape. He asked the judge if that could be appealed. Against the strong advice of counsel, Cobbins took the stand. He then told a story that went against the defense his lawyers had carefully prepared for him.

Cobbins again aired a complaint he had made at his sentencing hearing last year. He accused state prison and Knox County guards of beating him up. “I am asking that something be done to stop this abuse. I just want to put it on the record,” Cobbins said.

Channon Christian’s mother, Deena, shouted, “Did you see my daughter’s face?”

Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones said, “The truth is not in him. He is a lying murderer.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I were a guard or inmate at that prison I would thrash him as often as possible. All participants deserve death. And the remaining malefactors should be hunted to extinction.