Investigators: Tenn. judge high on pills in court

The Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A finding that a Tennessee judge was high on prescription pills during the last two years of his career is calling into question convictions in many of the criminal cases he handled.

The outcome could overwhelm the court system in Knox County, Tennessee’s third-largest county with cases that must be retried because the judge was high.

An investigative file on former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner says he bought pills during courtroom breaks and traded pills for sex in his chambers. Another judge has already overturned several convictions based on the investigation, ordering new trials in one of the city’s most notorious killings.

Prosecutors say Baumgartner presided over more than 1,000, cases his last two years on the bench.

He pleaded guilty to one count of official misconduct last year.

Published on Thursday, April 5, 2012 as: Judge's convictions investigated after drug addiction discovered