Christian and Newsom families want the TBI files open

Christian and Newsom families want the TBI files relating to Baumgartner unsealed

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Attorney Herbert Moncier, who represents the families, says Judge Blackwood likely reviewed all the files when making some decisions, so the victims' families have a constitutional right to see the records. Attorney Herbert Moncier, who represents the families, says Judge Blackwood likely reviewed all the files when making some decisions, so the victims' families have a constitutional right to see the records.
"He knows. He's got kids. He knows that we have the right to see anything that was used to make decisions on these cases. He knows it, but what he's going to do? It wasn't his kids," said Gary Christian. "He knows. He's got kids. He knows that we have the right to see anything that was used to make decisions on these cases. He knows it, but what he's going to do? It wasn't his kids," said Gary Christian.
"After losing two great kids, after coming up here 305 times, I think we have more than idle curiosity to what that file contains," said Hugh Newsom. "After losing two great kids, after coming up here 305 times, I think we have more than idle curiosity to what that file contains," said Hugh Newsom.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Judge Walter Kurtz took up the request from the Christian and Newsom families on Tuesday to unseal the TBI files related to former judge Richard Baumgartner.

It was his pill addiction that led to the retrials in the murder, rape and torture case.

Information has been redacted from 52 pages of the TBI's report and some of the pages were sealed under Judge Blackwood. Now, the families want access to the information.

The attorney for the Christians and Newsoms said they have constitutional rights to see the files.

The assistant attorney general, on behalf of the TBI, argued the victims' families have the same amount of rights as the public and do not have the right to see judicial records.

The hearing left the victims' families feeling like second class citizens.

The retrials are over now the victim's families want the files unsealed.

Assistant Attorney General Linda Kirklen, on behalf of the TBI, says there's no compelling interest to release the entire file and that idle curiosity is not enough. The Newsoms and Christians disagree with that argument.

"Our daughter and Chris, they were beaten, tortured, raped, kidnapped, murdered. It was one of the worst cases in the state of Tennessee and she wants to say we want to know because of idle curiosity?" said Deena Christian.

"After losing two great kids, after coming up here 305 times, I think we have more than idle curiosity to what that file contains," said Hugh Newsom.

The families say the judge, prosecution and defense were able to see the entire file and they should have the same rights.

"Everyone has access to it except the victim's family, which we represent the victims because they cannot represent themselves, and here we are being reduced to second class citizens," said Hugh Newsom.

Attorney Herbert Moncier, who represents the families, says Judge Blackwood likely reviewed all the files when making some decisions, so the victims' families have a constitutional right to see the records.

Kirklen says the victims have the right to be present in court, but not access to the records.  The judge will take the matter under advisement.

"He knows. He's got kids. He knows that we have the right to see anything that was used to make decisions on these cases. He knows it, but what he's going to do? It wasn't his kids," said Gary Christian.

The victims' families say Baumgartner's actions while presiding over their kids' cases directly impacts them. The behavior caused two cases to be retried. They want to see the files and say what they learn may dictate further action.

The judge will take the matter of unsealing the TBI records under advisement. He says he'll make a decision by the end of next week. All additional information must be filed next Wednesday.

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