Investigators: Tenn. judge high on pills in court
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee judge was so addicted to prescription drugs during his final two years on the bench, he was having sex and buying pills during courtroom breaks, at times purchasing from convicts he had previously sentenced, an investigation found. His behavior has called into question many of the cases he presided over, including one of Knoxville’s most notorious murders.
Many people didn’t realize Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner had a problem until he stepped down from the bench and pleaded guilty in March 2011 to a single count of official misconduct. It would be another eight months before the seriousness of the judge’s drug problem was revealed, casting uncertainty about whether Baumgartner was sober enough to be sitting on the bench.