Who Will Replace Ousted Judge Baumgartner?

The early line on the new Criminal Court judge position is leaning toward Sessions Court Judge Andrew Jackson VI, 54, who was a prosecutor for 20 years and who has been on the bench since 2006. He will likely have the most experience as a judge from among those who apply.

A judicial selection committee will come up with three names from applicants to present to Gov. Bill Haslam, who will pick one of the three—and Jackson is a Republican. The position is open due to the resignation of Richard Baumgartner, who was convicted of official misconduct, giving new meaning to the term Criminal Court judge.

There is some sentiment for TaKisha Fitzgerald, a rising star in District Attorney Randy Nichols’ office, who was co-prosecutor in the four Christian-Newsom murder trials, which were presided over by Baumgartner. She would be the first black woman on the bench here, but some think she isn’t old enough for a high court seat.

Her co-prosecutor in the murder trials was another “star,” Leland Price. But Price is expected to try to succeed Nichols as district attorney, as he does not plan to run for re-election.

Corrected: District Attorney General Randy Nichols does not serve on the selection committee.

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