Henry Baxter was a Cook County Juvenile court judge and a friend of Will Gardner. Judge Baxter had borrowed 120,000 dollars from Will Gardner to cover serious gambling debts, repaying only a portion. The judge also refinanced his mortgage, borrowing another half-million dollars. In June 2008, a bookie's enforcer broke into his house. Baxter does not pursue charges. In June 2008, he goes sailing with the owner of Palgrave Academy, a private juvenile detention facility in Cook County, and arranges a kickback for kids he sends to the facility. It is at this time that Baxter's sentencing pattern changed to become overly harsh. In the words of Will, Baxter is "sending kids to prison to make money." He is currently incarcerated at Cook County for doing this.
Appearance in LifeguardEdit
Alicia came before Judge Baxter to make a routine plea bargain for her client Terence Ramsey, a young black child who threw a book at his school bully who recieved nineteen stiches and a cracked eye socket. Stern, Lockhart & Gardner is defending him as he is the son of a large client's housekeeper. When Alicia passes Terence his glasses (presumably to present an more positive image to the Judge), Baxter becomes suspicious. Baxter questions Terence, who says he does not need his glasses to see Baxter, and orders that Terence take them off. Baxter objects to the plea bargain that Alicia agreed on with the prosecutor: one year probation, 200 hours community service and a admission of guilt and responsibility. Baxter imposes a harsher sentence of nine months detention. Even before the plea bargain was reached, the prosecution wanted on six months of detention.
Alicia confronts the prosecutor who reveals that a complaint had previously been filed against Judge Baxter, and starts investigating his cases. The firm discovers a sentencing pattern that began in June of 2008, and concludes that Baxter might be targeting black defendants for harsher sentences. Alicia filed a motion against Baxter (and others, to avoid being to blatant) citing racial patterns in sentencing, hoping that he would get the message. During a court recess, Baxter speaks with Alicia in his chambers. Alice notices some photos of African American children, while Baxter indicates photos of him with President Obama and Senator Burris and cities education, family structure, community services and quality of representation as other factors he uses in sentencing. He demands Alicia withdraw the motion.
At a basketball game, Judge Baxter questions if Will Gardner is sleeping with Alicia and tells him to tell Alicia to "move on."
After Stern, Lockhart & Gardner learn of his malfeasance, Terence Ramsey is released from detention. Though not shown, Baxter presumably would be arrested and removed from the bench. This is later confirmed in Death Row Tip (3.8) when Kalinda and ASA Lodge discuss Judge Baxter's removal from the bench.