Baumgartner jury deadlocked, no verdict yet

6:13 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
November 2012: A federal jury found former Knox County judge Richard Baumgartner guilty misprision of a felony. He was accused of covering up a drug conspiracy involving his former mistress.
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Jurors went home for the evening on Thursday without yet reaching a verdict in the federal trial of disgraced former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner.  Attorneys for both sides told the court they believe the jury is deadlocked.

After more than 15 hours of deliberation over three days, the jury will require further deliberation until they reach a unanimous decision.

Thursday afternoon the jury foreman sent Judge Ronnie Greer a note with this question: "What should I write on the verdict form if we cannot come to an agreement on some of the arguments?" 

Baumgartner, his defense team, and attornies arrived in court to discuss the matter with Judge Greer.  Prosecutors told the judge they wanted the jury to get back to work.  The defense wanted the judge to give the jury permission to return a partial verdict. 

That's exactly the instruction Judge Greer gave to the jury.  That means that the jury can return verdicts on some charges before they return charges on others.  But, the judge also issued an Allenl Charge.  It's known as "dynamite." That's an instruction along the lines of what prosecutors wanted; for the jury to continue deliberating, to not rush, and for jury members not to hesitate to change their minds after more discussion. 

Judge Greer also reminded the jury it has a responsibility to do what it can do to reach a unanimous decision. 

This development followed two other questions the jury asked the judge earlier in the day.  Jurors questioned how some pill evidence was labeled.  Jurors indicated one of their group is a "nationally certified pharmacy tech" who identified a pill differently than the TBI did.

Judge Greer told the jurors to remember to make decisions based only on evidence they heard and saw in court.

Their second question involved jurors coming to a unanimous decision. A note to the judge indicated some jurors believe the government reached its burden of proof on some counts.

The judge told the jurors to look at his initial instructions and to keep working.

The jurors are deciding on six counts of misprision, which accuse Baumgartner of lying about and covering up a drug crime.

Thursday marked the third day of deliberations for the jurors, and the eighth day of the Baumgartner trial.  Jurors are due back in court at 9 a.m. Friday morning to continue deliberations.  It is unclear when it will return a verdict.

Click here for a summary of Wednesday's developments in court.

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