Jurors struggle to reach verdict in Baumgartner trial

Jurors struggle to reach verdict in Baumgartner trial


KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Deliberations continued into a third day Thursday as the jury continues to weigh the charges against former Judge Richard Baumgartner.

The jury had questions for Judge Ronnie Greer about the case, so the judge, prosecutors and the defense all returned to court to hear their questions.

In one question, the jury wrote that they discovered the pills in evidence were not labeled correctly and were not oxycodone.

Prosecutors told Judge Greer that expert witnesses testified the pills were oxycodone.

Both prosecutors and the defense were concerned that the jurors were using outside factors to reach a decision and were not relying solely on evidence.

Judge Greer said he would inform the jurors to make a decision based solely on evidence heard in court.

The jury also asked the court how they should rule on Count 1 if some jurors believed the U.S. attorneys met the burden of proof and others did not.

U.S. attorneys suggested the judge give jurors Allen charge instructions or partial verdict instructions.

The defense suggested the court tell jurors that a guilty or not guilty verdict must be unanimous and that U.S. attorneys had to prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge said there was no indication of a deadlock and that giving Allen charge instruction would be premature.

Judge Greer said he would inform jurors to look over several specific pages of instruction detailing how prosecutors have to prove every element beyond a reasonable doubt.

The jury later asked the court a third question, inquiring what to write on the verdict form if they were not able to come to a verdict on some counts.

Judge Greer instructed them on the modified Allen charge and the partial verdict charge. He then told the jury to deliberate further.

"Talk, listen, and keep an open mind," Judge Greer said.

He then told them to reconsider their decision and ask themselves if the evidence is really beyond a reasonable doubt, and if they did to ask themselves if it was a reasonable doubt.

He told them they could return a verdict on some charges and continue deliberating on others or wait and return all verdicts.

The jury then continued deliberating, finally going home without reaching a conclusion around 4:30 p.m.

The jury started deliberations on Tuesday after closing arguments.

They are tasked with deciding the verdict on six counts of misprision of a felony. Prosecutors said that Baumgartner concealed up a drug conspiracy to continue to receive pills and sex.

A seventh count was dismissed after the judge ruled that there was not evidence for the jury to convict Baumgartner beyond reasonable doubt.

In March 2011, Baumgartner pleaded guilty to official misconduct and resigned from the bench.

The former judge was then arrested in May 2012 on the seven counts of misprision of a felony.

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