Predominantly female jury in Baumgartner case may affect outcome

Predominantly female jury in Baumgartner case could affect outcome

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6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE  (WATE) - The 12-person jury has been selected to hear the federal trial against former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner.

The group was picked from a pool of more than 100 people. A professor of law noticed the large number of women on the jury as the trial moves forward.

"Some of these facts are difficult. I might not have preferred so many women on my jury," said former defense attorney and Lincoln Memorial University law professor Richard Gaines.

After a lengthy two-day jury selection, the defense and prosecution agreed upon their final selection: 10 women and two men. A man and a woman were selected as alternates.

Gaines said many factors could have an effect on the outcome.

"Women can be tough on men who do some of the things Judge Baumgartner is accused of," Gaines said. "Men can too, but I might not have preferred that many women."

The jurors are mostly middle aged and predominantly white. Only one juror is African-American. Gaines said this could also have an effect.

"Honestly if I was to select a jury, I'd want a cross section of every part of our society in that jury box," he said. "The constitution requires a jury of our peers and many juries I see aren't necessarily our peers."

With the jury selected, the trial will begin Thursday at 9 a.m.

"The government to prove that Judge Baumgartner knew about a drug conspiracy and took some further action," Gaines said. "The defense in all likelihood will attempt to show that Judge Baumgartner didn't know about all these other things which is going to make the trial potentially wide open."

The former judge was charged in May on seven counts of concealing and not reporting a felony. Gaines said the trial should last about a week.

The jury is made up of people from the Knoxville area. The majority of them have heard of Judge Baumgartner, but are able to set that aside to give him  a fair and impartial hearing.

At the end of jury selection Wednesday, the jurors were given their instructions.  They will not have to be sequestered, but they are not allowed to talk about the case with anyone or watch any type of news about the trial.


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