NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --The Tennessee Supreme Court responded to an online campaign to stop the retrials of the four defendants charged with the murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. The court has received over 16,000 emails, according to Tennessee Supreme Court spokesperson Laura Click.
"We certainly appreciate and understand the public's interest in these cases," she explained. "[H]owever, the Code of Judicial Conduct prevents the Supreme Court, or any judge, from considering ex parte communications as part of its decision making process."
"In other words, a judge cannot consider any communications made to the judge without the parties being present."
Click added that if and when the state appeals Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood's decision to grant the defendants new trials, the appellate court is bound to consider the appeal based solely on the facts and information of the case as they are described in the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure.
“The Code of Judicial Conduct also prohibits judges from commenting on any cases that may come before them," she said.
In November, Blackwood overturned the convictions of Letalvis Cobbins, Lemaricus Davidson, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation released the results of its investigation into former Knox County Judge Richard Baumgartner, finding that he was using prescription pain pills at the time of the trials.