Richard Baumgartner gets 6 months in prison

Ex-Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner gets 6 months in prison

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Former Judge Richard Baumgartner leaving the courthouse on Wednesday. Former Judge Richard Baumgartner leaving the courthouse on Wednesday.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

GREENEVILLE (WATE) - Former Knox County judge Richard Baumgartner was sentenced Wednesday to six months in prison with no parole and no fine.

His sentence was for five counts of misprision of a felony. Baumgartner was found guilty in November of lying to cover up his drug addiction and a scheme for obtaining painkillers and sex.

U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Greer sentenced Baumgartner to six months imprisonment for each count, which are to be served concurrently. That means he will be confined a total of six months. He was also sentenced to a year of supervised release.

No fine was levied against Baumgartner because the judge ruled he doesn't have the ability to pay.  

Baumgartner was not taken into custody. He will be allowed self-report to prison.

The prison has not been selected yet, but Baumgartner's defense attorney Donald Bosch requested Judge Greer recommend he serve his sentence at a minimum security prison in Montgomery, Ala.

That prison, which Forbes.com once named as one of the ten cushiest prisons in America, is located on the grounds of Maxwell Air Force Base. The camp's handbook states that inmates will find "ample movement and less direct supervision than you might expect."

Wednesday was the first time Baumgartner spoke publicly about his misconduct.

Face to face with Judge Greer, Baumgartner said he did "unreasonable and stupid things," adding that he was "greatly ashamed that I've had an adverse effect on the judiciary system," and he will, "forever be remorseful for any disgrace I've brought to [my] profession."

Baumgartner also said he thinks about the families who have to endure retrials. 

"I regret that, and understand it is on my shoulders," Baumgartner said.

He choked up when talking about the pain his actions have had on his own family.

The U.S. attorneys asked for a two-year prison sentence, while the defense asked for 24 months probation.

Judge Greer said probation would not be acceptable because of the seriousness of the crime.

"I believe this is a serious offense because it represents an assault on the foundation of the justice system," Judge Greer said during his sentencing.

A probe by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation found he was addicted to painkillers and was having sex with a woman under his court's supervision who supplied him with pills.

After being disbarred and facing state charges of official misconduct, Baumgartner took a plea deal in 2011 to avoid a jail term.

Federal prosecutors then won a conviction, saying Baumgartner's his actions severely disrupted the Knox County judicial system when he lied to an Anderson County judge, a Knox County judge, the transitional housing director of the YWCA, a Knox County magistrate and a Knox County assistant district attorney general.

Following sentencing neither side was willing to comment to the news media.

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