Judge Denies Access to Baumgartner File

The still-secret portion of former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner’s Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) file is not relevant to public understanding of his, or any other, case and should stay sealed, Senior Judge Walter Kurtz ruled Friday. By law, TBI files are exempt from the Tennessee Open Records Act, but a judge can order they be released. In December 2011, the Knoxville News Sentinel petitioned to have the entire investigative file on Baumgartner unsealed. The file also was made part of the court record in Baumgartner’s federal trial, Knoxnews reports. The judge in that case, Magistrate Judge Clifford Shirley has not ruled if or when the file would be made public as a result of that proceeding.