February 12, 2012

Order in the court

From the Knoxville News Sentinel:
Court of secrecy:
It was a Thursday night in January 2010 when the phone rang at the Andersonville home of then-Knox County Sheriff's Office courtroom security officer Meredith Driskell.

"He said, 'I'm coming to get those pills.' He told me to put them in a brown paper bag. I told him no ... but he told me I was going to," she recalled when contacted by the News Sentinel. "So, I put them in a brown paper bag and handed it to him, my husband, who hadn't been in the room. I said, �Don't look inside. The judge is coming to get this.' "

"The judge" was former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner. He wasn't officially her boss. Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones was, but Baumgartner still held the power to have her fired.
A News Sentinel investigation showed that, despite ongoing warning signs and sounded alarms about Baumgartner's sobriety, he continued for at least three years to draw some of Knox County's most high-profile cases and made legal decisions still lauded by many to this day. Now, hundreds of cases could be at risk, and Knox County's judicial system is in a state of turmoil as a result.
A long story and a twisted tale. The guy was a Judge but also a raging alcoholic and pill popper and was shielded by the Knoxville political machine. I would expect this in Chicago or Miami but not in Tennesee... Posted by DaveH at February 12, 2012 6:29 PM
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