Torture-Slaying Defendant Seeking U.S. Supreme Court Review

Knoxville defense attorneys Tom Dillard and Stephen Ross Johnson are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal on behalf of their client, George Thomas, to decide whether former Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner was able at the time to deliver a constitutionally sound trial. Thomas is one of four defendants convicted in the January 2007 Christian-Newsom torture-slayings. The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Baumgartner's misdeeds are not cause for new trials in the case, rejecting the defendants' claim of "structural" or constitutional error. Thomas believes the state high court was wrong to reject the "structural error" argument and is asking the nation's top court to weigh in. The News Sentinel has more