Former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner was sentenced today to six months in prison, reports the News Sentinel.
The Democrat and longtime jurist also was sentenced in Greeneville by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Greer to a year’s supervised release after the term is completed.
Baumgartner’s attorney, Donald A. Bosch of Knoxville, told the court he would apply for a stay of the sentence. Baumgartner will be allowed to self report to a federal prison.
Baumgartner stepped down in March 2011 and pleaded guilty in state court to official misconduct amid an investigation that showed he had abused drugs and used court defendants to secure them. He was spared prison and allowed to keep his pension.
In October, however, a federal jury convicted him of five counts of misprision of a felony, meaning he knew about and covered up a mistress’ involvement in a drug conspiracy centered around his drug usage.
A former Tennessee Department of Safety official apologized to a federal judge Friday for selling state driver’s licenses and said his history of a clean record and military service justified a lighter sentence, according to The Tennessean. Larry Murphy, 54, was sentenced to 27 months in prison and will forfeit $69,500 for accepting money as a state official in turn for issuing driver’s licenses without administering the proper tests. Anny Castillo, 31, received three months in prison and nine months of home detention and will forfeit $42,500 for bribing Murphy and for selling U.S. birth certificates. Each faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“I am very ashamed of creating an awkward and embarrassing situation for my wife and kids,” Murphy told U.S. District Judge Kevin Sharp. “I have lost my pride, dignity and respect of my family, friends and neighbors all because I did something stupid.”
Murphy’s attorney, Craig Fickling, asked Sharp to consider Murphy’s 21-year service in the military and that he had no prior criminal history.
Sharp agreed that Murphy’s decisions, which Murphy said were based out of financial concerns for his family, were “out of character,” but said his military service would not factor into a reduced sentence.
“In some sense you can look at that military service and go, ‘He knew better,’ ” Sharp said.
Castillo, speaking through an interpreter and tears, said she made a mistake when she bought her own license from Murphy and fell into a growing scheme through fear and pressure from others who wanted licenses. She asked for probation out of concerns for her three children, saying, “I don’t even want to imagine what would happen if they were left all by themselves.”
News release from Davidson County District Attorney’s office:
Former Hawkins County Judge James F. Taylor today pled guilty to stealing from the Administrative Office of the Courts, by creating forged documents to support false billings for legal work that he did not perform.
The AOC disburses payments from the indigent defense fund to private attorneys who are appointed to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases. Taylor entered guilty pleas under a plea agreement to six counts of felony theft.
As part of that plea, Taylor accepted a 13-year sentence. Three years of that is to be served with 30% parole eligibility at a CCA facility. The remaining 10 years will be on probation. He is also ordered to make restitution to the AOC in the amount of $32,757, to be paid in monthly installments. The plea also dictates that Taylor will enter an order of disbarment, and he cannot apply for reinstatement of his law license until October, 2025, at the earliest.