Blackwood Tosses Retrials, Sets Date for Recusal Hearing

Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood yesterday reversed his previous order granting new trials to two defendants caught up in the fall-out from misconduct by former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner. The issue of retrials now will be subject to further review of the cases and a hearing set for August 17. In addition, Blackwood set a hearing for Oct. 8 to give the state a second chance to argue that he should step down from the cases. WBIR has the story

In related news, the DA’s office has asked for audio recordings and a transcript of last week’s hearing in which Blackwood and DA Randy Nichols wound up in a "yelling match," according to WATE News 6. That hearing turned volatile when Blackwood refused to recuse himself and prohibited the state from making any arguments about that issue. The DA's office says the outburst shows that Blackwood cannot rule impartially because of his emotional connection to the trial.