Home > Crime > Christian-Newsom News – Blackwood Defiant And Gets Ugly

Christian-Newsom News – Blackwood Defiant And Gets Ugly


I was praying and hoping for a more sane outcome, however just plain crazy and my naiveté got in the way!  It is one of those OMG moments again.

Special Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood says he will not recuse himself.  He actually held a hearing today and stated the following, “I intend to run this ship. I’m here by appointment of Supreme Court. Until Supreme Court tells me otherwise, I’m not leaving.”

He claims to have followed the State Supreme Court decision to review what he based his decision on to order new trials for Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, and George Thomas.  Originally, his concern was with Baumgartner’s drug addiction.  Now, he claims his decision is based on the 13th juror rule!  “The court finds that credibility of the witnesses is an overriding and important issue which obligates this court to conclude that it cannot perform the duties of the Thirteenth Juror.” 

This is all the more interesting because previously, Blackwood said he had no 13th juror issue with the trial of Letalvis Cobbins!  The KnoxNews reported prosecutor Leland Price as noting, “…that Blackwood in June 2011 stated he could indeed serve as 13th juror in the case of defendant Letalvis Cobbins. But then, in December 2011, he reversed himself after reading the TBI’s file on Baumgartner, according to Price.

“There has been no alteration in the trial record in Cobbins’ case since June …. when the court determined that it could serve as 13th juror,” Price wrote. “The only thing that has changed is that the court reviewed the TBI record concerning Baumgartner, granted new trials, and then was reversed by our Supreme Court.”

Apparently, things got pretty heated at the hearing.  Blackwood threatened Knox County District Attorney General Randy Nichols with contempt of court!

Blackwood opined about his reason to order new trial and then ordered a break.  When he took the bench again he read a section of the law about what comments attorneys should and should not make about judges.  This started a loud exchange between Blackwood and Nichols.  After some back and forth about ex parte communications Blackwood told Nichols, “You are going to sit down.” 

Nichols, still on his feet, said, “We object to you saying anything more.”

Blackwood then yelled at Nichols, “I told you to sit down. If you stand up one more time, you will be in contempt of court. Do you understand?”

Blackwood then left the bench.

Just an interesting aside.  According to The Chattanoogan, Current law in the state is vague about what is to happen when a motion to recuse is before a judge. The current Rule 10 of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct states only that:

“A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where: (a) the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer, or personal knowledge of disputed evidentiary facts concerning the proceeding; [or] (b) the judge served as a lawyer in the matter in controversy, or a lawyer with whom the judge previously practiced law served during such association as a lawyer concerning the matter, or the judge has been a material witness concerning it.”

The Supreme Court recently adopted a new Rule 10 that is set to go into effect on July 1 of this year. The new rule would prevent a judge whose recusal is being sought from issuing any orders or rules until the motion to recuse has been dealt with. The new rule also gives the petitioning party a right to automatic emergency appeal should the judge deny the motion. Because the rule is not yet in effect Blackwood is permitted to issue his second order despite the current motion for him to recuse himself.

So, what the hell is wrong with Blackwood?  A bit crazy or an ego that can’t be reined in?

Somehow, justice for Channon Christian and Chris Newsom seems to be lost in all this madness!



The Chattanoogan

  1. mindy
    06/14/2012 at 10:30 pm

    For the love of god we are not saving the wrongly accused here Blackwood, get a clue and let it go you could be more of a hero that way! Don’t make the family have to relive the pain, save the state a lot of money and let the rotten continue to rot right where they are. Then you can retire and enjoy it! At this rate not sure there will be much to enjoy with how you want this to go forward, shame on you Blackwood!!!

  2. donchais
    06/14/2012 at 11:01 pm

    Hi mindy,

    What scares me more than anything is Blackwood is obviously totally pissed off with the prosecution, just how fair and unbiased will the new trials be???? I’ve got a really bad feeling in my gut.

  3. ritanita
    06/15/2012 at 6:14 am

    Donchais, what to say but my gut agrees with yours. As for Blackwood, his temper tantrum and refusal to make decisions based on the facts of the trials speaks to his own state of mind, which I question.

    Just my extremely humble opinion here, but could it also be a sign of long-running jealousy that he wasn’t assigned the trials and Baumgartner was? Professional rivalry paired with an inside knowledge of Baumgartner’s, ahem, little problems? Oh, and IF he knew B’s problems, why didn’t HE speak up prior to the trials? Was he covering for him, too?

  4. Jo
    06/16/2012 at 10:27 am

    Can it get any worse? I don’t know if this could happen in Tenn. but I am concerned that even at the end of another trial and the outcome is the same, this judge might decide to nullify the jury’s decision and declare the defendants NOT Guilty. Where I live, there was someone on trial and they were found Not Guilty by jury but judge decided that the person WAS guilty and sentenced them to jail. A BIG uproar. Being appealed. True, it was not a murder trial, so I don’t know if Blackwood could do that. Still sickens me as he is obviously biased and now reading Ritanita’s response, that is certainly food for thought as well and makes sense. For sure, something is going on with him.

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