Judges to discuss changes on handling domestic violence cases - WSMV Channel 4

Judges to discuss changes on handling domestic violence cases

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Judge Casey Moreland Judge Casey Moreland
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The handling of a single court case has led to a very unusual move. The Channel 4 I-Team has learned that all 11 Davidson County general sessions judges will be called together Friday for a special meeting.

It comes after the questionable handling of a domestic violence case that has Judge Casey Moreland under scrutiny.

The man accused of the domestic abuse is David Chase. And prosecutors on Thursday tried to revoke his bond on an unrelated DUI charge.

Much of the testimony, however, focused on whether Chase was under the influence when he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at his Elliston Place apartment.

Moreland is accused of using his influence to get Chase out of a 12-hour cooling-off period. Police say after his release, Chase went back to the same apartment and allegedly assaulted the woman again.

Judge William Higgins, senior jurist at general sessions court, was then the recipient of the letter from Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson, which called the case a "fiasco," chastised Moreland and ignited a firestorm among the city's elected leaders.

Higgins confirms to the Channel 4 I-Team he will call all the judges in general sessions, including Moreland, to a specially called meeting Friday during which several proposed changes will be addressed.

It's clear that change is coming as a result of the handling of this case. And in the immediate future, the senior jurist on the general sessions bench says the work has already begun.

"Appropriate action will be taken to restore any loss of trust the people may have lost in the judicial system. That's our hope and prayer, and I believe that will be done," Higgins said.

State lawmakers are drafting their own version of change in hopes of restoring trust.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and State Rep. William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, say they plan to sponsor a new piece of legislation that would make the 12-hour cooling-off period mandatory.

State Rep. Gary Odom, D-Nashville, is also working to introduce a similar bill before the state legislature convenes in January 2015.

As for Judge Moreland's job security, the calls for his resignation grew louder Thursday.

In a statement, the chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party said, "Judge Moreland has proven he does not fully grasp the grave repercussions, choosing rather to engage Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson in a public spat."

Higgins says one of the proposals that will be discussed Friday will be the 12-hour cooling-off period.

He says there are other matters that will be discussed as well.

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