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Christian Newsom – Judge Denies State’s Appeal


In a move sure to anger most everybody, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood disregarded arguments by Prosecutor Leland Price and denied the state’s appeal against retrials for Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman.

Judge Blackwood said the question of Baumgartner’s “fitness” within the courtroom was certainly evidence of structural error in the cases.

He also said it’s “better now than later,” saying he wouldn’t want to have to go through appeals ten or twenty years from now.

Blackwood indicated he hoped the new trials would be completed by the end of the year for the sake of the families!

When court resumes this afternoon, motions for change of venue will be heard.

Prosecutors have not commented on whether they will take their appeal to the appellate court.

While stunned, I am not surprised in the least, that Blackwood ruled as he did…why would he comprise his own ruling?


  1. Jo
    01/12/2012 at 3:11 pm

    Please edit Donchais but I am cutting/pasting from WBIR: “Judge Blackwood said that Baumgartner told Deena Castleman, one of the people involved in the TBI investigation of the former judge’s actions, that, if he were caught, he would defend himself by saying that doctors provided him with the pills and he got hooked.

    Judge Blackwood said that statement should act as proof that Baumgartner “knew each day he might be caught, might be prosecuted,” and violated the law each time he took the bench.”

    REALLY?! So Blackwood KNOWS this and yet STILL allowed Baumgartner to have his pension? REALLY?? Or am I remembering wrong. If so I apologize. If this is true, than I can say the justice system really stinks. And if Blackwood gets his job through elections, he should be voted OUT next time around. No doubt it is probably a life appointment. So sorry, I am really disgusted.

    AND Blackwood understands that it places a strain on the victims’ families as well as the defendants’. Sorry, but I don’t give a rat’s behind about the defendants’ families. I just don’t from reading about the way they acted as well. Nope, no way. I apologize for my anger but this case sickened me from day 1. It reminded me of a case from about 15 years ago where coverage was limited because it might create racial tensions. Several young people were killed and one young woman managed to get help although she was left for dead. It was only after the case was over that we knew the awful details of the case.

    I do hope the prosecutors take it all the way to the highest courts available to them. After all, Baumgartner’s own statement above shows he was in possession of his faculties. I apologize for the ramble. I am so upset.

  2. donchais
    01/12/2012 at 3:45 pm

    Jo, absolutely no reason to apologize – the level of anger for all of us is almost immeasurable.

    Blackwood, 64, retired as a Circuit Court judge in Somerville, Tenn., in 2004. Though retired from Circuit Court, he works full time as a specially appointed senior judge hearing cases as needed.

    One of the major issues with prosecutors taking this issue to the appellate court now is Blackwood’s ruling today would also be part of the file the appellate court would review.

    This is just a nightmare!

  3. 01/13/2012 at 5:26 am

    Sickening, just sickening. I had hoped for the death penalty for all four of these vermin. I think most got off too lightly and another trial will probably end with even lesser sentences.

  4. ritanita
    01/13/2012 at 9:03 am

    This is turning into a total shambles. For the Christian and Newsome families to have to go back to that hell of a courtroom is unconscionalble. They will have to testify FOUR MORE TIMES, fgs. That, in itself is cruel and unusual punishment for them. They are the victims, not those four individuals who callously murdered Channon and Chris in such a brutal way.
    let’s hope the new juries “get it” and are not afraid to mete out the justice they deserve which is exactly what they got, with the exception of Vanessa Coleman. She deserved life, too. As it is, they will have the option of buying her “poor lil old me… didn’t know what was going on story.

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