Baumgartner trial jury foreman: Jurors never deadlocked

Baumgartner trial jury foreman: Jurors never deadlocked

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Richard Baumgartner presided over some of Knox County's most notorious criminal trials. Richard Baumgartner presided over some of Knox County's most notorious criminal trials.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The jury foreperson in former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner's federal trial says jurors were never deadlocked as they deliberated verdicts last week on the charges.

The jury convicted Baumgartner on charges relating to lying to authorities to protect his mistress and drug dependency.

Deliberations lasted nearly 20 hours and many court observers wondered what was taking the jury so long. Though it appeared the jurors were deadlocked, the foreperson said they weren't.

She asked not to be named for this report.

She said the jury discussed for hours the six counts of failing to report and concealing a felony. The judge had dropped one charge before turning the case over the jury.

The jury came to unanimous decisions on the six, but the foreperson says it wasn't easy to reach those decisions.

"Because of the tremendous amount of detail and complication in this case, we had to get 12 people to agree on 24 different things unanimously, so it took a while," said the foreperson.

For each charge the jury had to agree on four elements. First there was a drug conspiracy. Second, Baumgartner had full knowledge of it. Third, he failed to report it. The fourth point was he concealed the felony.

The foreperson says on count five little discussion was needed to find Baumgartner guilty.

"The drug test with the Y, the fact that was covered up that Deena came back positive and it was covered up," said the foreperson.

Deena Castleman is the former judge's alleged mistress.

The foreperson explains why the jury decided not guilty on Count Two, saying, "The crime of misprision is lying and covering up with federal officials and in the St. Mary's incident, there weren't any federal officials."

The foreperson says two of the charges prompted more discussion, but the conversation never became heated.

The jury also had a couple questions for the judge. One question asked what they should write on the verdict form if we they did not agree.

She says the question they asked the judge didn't mean the jury was deadlocked.

"I just like to plan ahead, so when I sent the question about does this have to be unanimous that's what made you all think we were deadlocked, I was just like, just in case," said the foreperson.

The jury also asked the judge if pills in the evidence were labeled incorrectly.

"This is kind of an important piece of evidence and in our opinion they screwed it up, so what else? But no, it played absolutely no part in our decision," she said.

The foreperson says the jurors took their duty seriously and no one changed a decision just to go home.

After nearly 20 hours of deliberations, they had a verdict on each count.

"There was some relief, but there was no celebration. Everybody was pretty somber because again going back to the fact our decision is going to affect a man's life," she said.

The foreperson says if she were ever on trial she would want the serious, hardworking jurors she worked with. She believes they followed instructions, made decisions based on the evidence and that justice was served.

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