Steven Sword named to replace Judge Richard Baumgartner

Steven Sword named to replace Judge Richard Baumgartner

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Steve Sword is filling the vacancy created by the resignation of former judge Richard Baumgartner in March. Steve Sword is filling the vacancy created by the resignation of former judge Richard Baumgartner in March.

By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A new judge will be taking the bench in Knox County.

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Wednesday he has chosen Assistant District Attorney Steve Sword, 41, to replace Richard Baumgartner as Knox County criminal court judge.

"I'm very excited and a little bit anxious," Sword said about his appointment. "It's a big task, but I'm looking forward to taking it on."

Sword is filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Baumgartner in March.

Baumgartner left the bench after pleading guilty to official misconduct for buying pain pills from a man on probation in his court.

"Despite the way his career ended, Judge Baumgartner was an outstanding jurist," Sword said. "I practiced in front of him for a number of years and I will hopefully take a lot of the things I learned from him and apply those to my practice on the bench. I'm also interested in restoring the integrity of the bench. I know the community's faith had been shaken."

Sword's career in the last few years has focused on prosecuting child sexual and physical abuse cases.

"I'll miss being a prosecutor, just being part of a team," he said. "Those relationships, I'll no longer be able to sustain them because I'll have to remain neutral."

Sword tried his last case last week. He says he believes he will be sworn in as judge on August 1.

"I'll be the youngest sitting judge in Knox County." Sword noted. "However, I won't be the youngest judge to have been appointed. Judge Leibowitz was 35."

Sword has also served for 15 years as judge advocate general in the United States Army Reserves.

He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville and King College in Bristol.

He and his wife, Alice, have two children.

Sword will have to run in the election next year in order to keep the seat until 2014, when there will be another election for an eight-year term.

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