Thursday, May 24, 2012

Breaking News, in the Knoxville Horror Case! Tennessee Supreme Court Stops Overturning of Davidson, Thomas, and Cobbins Verdicts

By David in TN and Nicholas Stix

[Court's order remanding rulings in Christian-Newsom cases (pdf)]

On Thursday, the Tennessee Supreme Court halted Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood's decision to throw out the convictions in the
Knoxville Horror case.

The Justices said Blackwood was too hasty in finding former Judge Richard Baumgartner's conduct was so bad the verdicts had to be overturned.

The ruling apparently says Blackwood should have considered the totality of the case.

NS: Let’s not get too excited about this just yet, boys and girls. The TSC still gave Judge Blackwood the option to again make mischief.
Justices directed Blackwood to "expeditiously" decide whether he can weigh in on the verdicts for Davidson, Cobbins and Thomas.

If Blackwood decides that he cannot, then he's obliged to grant the men new trials, according to the court.

I’ve been sweating bullets for weeks over this case, because I promised my associate, David in TN, that I would meet him in Knoxville for the June 11 opening of the Davidson retrial, and I even told The Boss I’d be going. But with all the judicial maneuvering necessitated by Judge Mischief II (Blackwood), I was afraid that I’d book a flight, and then get screwed.

I argued previously that Judge Blackwood’s new brand of mischief would impose an impossible burden on the criminal justice system, by bringing jurists’ personal lives into the courtroom, and leaving them open to blackmail. With the TSC’s ambiguous decision, unfortunately the door to such mischief remains open.


Church of Jed said...

I don't know if this is good news or bad.

Won't another trial help keep the story alive?

"Racism is the fastest grown trend in the White community right now, as it should be. We are finally making those long overdue first steps along the path that takes us forward to a better future."

-Rev. Jed DeValleyism, "Back on board the segregation bandwagon," 2012

Anonymous said...

There is going to be at least one more trial in any case. The Tennessee Attorney General's office did not contest the retrial for the female defendant, Vanessa Coleman. It was acknowledged that former Judge Baumgartner was impaired during her trial.

If the ringleader, Davidson, gets a new trial, he quite possibly would not receive a death sentence this time.

David In TN

Nicawawa said...

Thanks once again for your thorough, IN DEPTH coverage of this and other cases!

Often times the story fades away after the headlines end but your research keeps turning over more dirt about the system that is totally missed on other blogs who cover this type of material.

That is why your blog is a daily read for me first thing in the morning.

Anonymous said...

It just occured to me that when the retrial of Vanessa Coleman occurs, Blackwood will pick the blackest jury pool he can come up with. I won't be surprised if he goes back to Nashville, maybe he'll even pick Memphis.

In the first trial, the juror questions were mostly about Daphne Sutton. I saw two forty-something white women asking about Sutton and cops "tricking and cheating" poor Vanessa. They were asking these questions even when other subjects were being testified about.

When Coleman's diary was introduced into evidence, with very damning statements ("HA!HA! I had a big adventure in the Big TN!"), the jury had no questions at all.

Since Facilitation regarding Channon Christian will be the only charge, it will be easier to prove than murder. Will Blackwood seek an intelligent and objective jury? Or will the Tennessee Supreme Court's decision make him inclined to make mischief?

David In TN