Baumgartner's misconduct calls another case into question

11:32 PM, Dec 5, 2011   |    comments
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Another case is in question due to former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner's conduct.

Last week we learned that the families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom would have to experience the gut-wrenching details of their children's kidnapping, rape, and murder all over again.

A special judge granted all four defendants in the case new trials based on the misconduct of presiding Judge Richard Baumgartner.

Now, a defendant in another unrelated case has filed a motion asking for a new trial.

The lawyer for convicted rapist Jayson Bailey has also filed for a new trial asking that the same legal problem with the Christian-Newsom case be considered in Bailey's case.

10News does not usually reveal the identity of rape victims, but in this circumstance, the victim came forward with her family.

She felt so strongly about the pain a new trial would cause her that she wanted to share her story with us.

Michelle Garrett, 17, endured two and a half years of rape, three years of waiting for a conviction, and 10 hours of reliving those details on the stand.

"Everyone was looking at me. Then seeing him over there. It was just intimidating. He was staring me down I knew I was supposed to be up there but I was just so scared," Michelle Garrett said.

Now Michelle could have to do it all over again.

"It's not my fault that this is happening right now at all. It's the lack of responsibility that the judge had," she said. 

That judge was Richard Baumgartner. He was disbarred after admitting misconduct. A TBI investigation shows he was addicted to pills for years while on the bench including during Jayson Bailey's trial.

Bailey, who was Michelle Garrett's stepfather, believes he deserves a new trial based on the judge's performance.

"It's just crazy conduct and now for my daughter to have to go through this stuff and my whole family! We can do it. We're adults and we can handle it. It's her that I worry about the most," Michelle's father, Michael said.

Sitting around the kitchen table and remembering what happened, the Garrett family got angry.

"We're supposed to trust the judicial system in Knox County again? Sorry I don't trust them one bit," said Michelle's grandfather.

"Why as taxpayers of Knox County are we allowing these trials to come to fruition without drug testing the judges so it doesn't happen again?" said her grandmother, Jeannie Garrett.

"She did everything she was supposed to do and the justice system failed her. Judge Baumgartner failed her the fact that she might have to go through another breaks my heart," said her aunt, Amanda Garrett.

But even though they're upset, Michelle said she'll do whatever it takes to keep Bailey behind bars.

"I mean I have to do it for so many reason just for myself. Just to make sure that nothing else happens to anyone else ever again," Michelle said.

The tight knit group said they'll be there supporting her every step of the way.

Bailey's attorney, Greg Isaacs, filed for a new trial in October.

Just like in the Christian-Newsom re-trial motions, Isaacs argues that Baumgartner was not able to fulfill his role as a 13th juror.

Bailey has a motions hearing to determine if he will in fact get a new trial in January.

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