Christians and Newsoms push for drug screening for judges

Christians and Newsoms push for drug screening for judges

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The Christian and Newsom families sat down with State Rep. Ryan Haynes, State Sen. Randy McNally and prosecutor Leland Price Thursday to discuss two new laws, one of which would be drug screening for judges. The Christian and Newsom families sat down with State Rep. Ryan Haynes, State Sen. Randy McNally and prosecutor Leland Price Thursday to discuss two new laws, one of which would be drug screening for judges.
"For somebody that is in charge and controls something as important as our justice system, I think they should be susceptible to a drug screening, certainly with Baumgartner," said Gary Christian. "For somebody that is in charge and controls something as important as our justice system, I think they should be susceptible to a drug screening, certainly with Baumgartner," said Gary Christian.
"Because of Judge Baumgartner doing what he did and the people being aware of that, they know it can happen. It's a possibility, and it can happen again," said Mary Newsom. "Because of Judge Baumgartner doing what he did and the people being aware of that, they know it can happen. It's a possibility, and it can happen again," said Mary Newsom.
"There were things said at that trial that should not have been said, things in my opinion the defense lawyers knew were lies, and presented them to the jury," said Sen. McNally. "There were things said at that trial that should not have been said, things in my opinion the defense lawyers knew were lies, and presented them to the jury," said Sen. McNally.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Parents of the young Knoxville couple killed in a brutal murder case are advocating for changes in the law.

Nearly seven years have passed since the rape, torture and murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom.

Four people were convicted in the killings, but the victims' families had to suffer through their trials not just once, but twice.

That's because the judge in the original case, Richard Baumgartner, was addicted to painkillers and pleaded guilty to official misconduct.

He just completed a federal prison sentence.

The Christian and Newsom families sat down with State Rep. Ryan Haynes, State Sen. Randy McNally and prosecutor Leland Price Thursday to discuss two new laws, one of which would be drug screening for judges.

"For somebody that is in charge and controls something as important as our justice system, I think they should be susceptible to a drug screening, certainly with Baumgartner," said Gary Christian.

The families hope the name recognition of their case and Judge Baumgartner's name will help push this bill forward.

"Because of Judge Baumgartner doing what he did and the people being aware of that, they know it can happen. It's a possibility, and it can happen again," said Mary Newsom.

The other law would help protect the victims in the courtroom.

"There were things said at that trial that should not have been said, things in my opinion the defense lawyers knew were lies, and presented them to the jury," said Sen. McNally.

"There are laws that are supposed to prevent that, and that's because the laws don't have any teeth," said Gary Christian.

Sen. McNally says there's an uphill battle ahead.

"The judicial system seems to function with the criminal defense attorney, and seems to function for their convenience and benefit. The trial lawyers object every time we try to strengthen the law and try to protect people," said McNally.

These families understand what their up against.

"I don't expect anything to be easy. It hasn't been so far," said Christian.

Yet, they're willing to do it in the memory of Chris and Channon, and to ensure other families won't go through what they have.

"We're trying to achieve some positive out of this whole situation and today's meeting is a beginning," said Hugh Newsom.

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