NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A disagreement between Metro judges over office space has led to one taking a lie detector test.
Judge Casey Moreland took the test in late November to prove he didn't bully and intimidate Metro employees after losing office space.
Metro Judge Melissa Blackburn filed a formal complaint against Moreland last month claiming he verbally abused female staff members of Metro's Mental Health Court.
Moreland denied that he acted unprofessionally and took a lie detector test in the office of local attorney Bryan Lewis.
Statements from three Mental Health Court employees claimed Moreland was "screaming" and "verbally abusive" to employees on November 7.
Judge Blackburn wrote an e-mail about the incident using statements from the employees. She sent the e-mail to fellow judges and to the Board of Judicial Conduct, which oversees judges.
"Moreland entered the suite in a rage claiming personal entitlement to certain empty offices." Judge Blackburn wrote. "Moreland began by ripping names off doors, wadding them up and throwing them. He entered offices and began tossing contents into the hallway."
She claimed he "tossed a baby bed mattress [which had been donated to a mental health client] out into the hallway."
Judge Moreland denied those claims and on November 21 took the lie detector test.
Questions included, "Did you speak to anyone in an unprofessional tone?" Moreland responded, "No."
Also, "Did you touch a baby mattress in that office?" Moreland responded, "No."
The examiner determined his answers were truthful. Moreland's court officer and administrative assistant took the same test and answered the questions in the same way. The examiner said they responded truthfully. The two employees also filed affidavits about what happened.
Judge Moreland and his employees took the lie detector test in the office of Moreland's friend and local attorney Bryan Lewis.
Lewis and Moreland were at the center of a controversy this summer after Moreland waived the mandatory 12-hour waiting period for a client of Lewis’ who was accused of domestic violence.
Police said that client got out and attacked the female victim again.
The Board of Judicial Conduct reprimanded Moreland.
"I apologized. I took responsibility for it," Moreland said in an interview over the summer.
The incident was still clearly on Moreland's mind just hours after he went into the Mental Health Court offices on November 7.
He sent the following e-mail to Metro's Presiding Judge that afternoon:
"I am tired of my co-workers treating me like damaged goods! They have all turned their back on me! I never did a thing that each of them had done many times but they act so self-righteous! Each and every one of them either threw me under the bus or just turned their back on me! That I will never forget! So y'all just do whatever you want to do just let me be!"
Judge Blackburn had no comment – just the e-mail she submitted to the Board of Judicial Conduct.
Judge Moreland sent the following statement:
“I regret the misunderstanding about my presence in the Mental Health Court on Nov. 7. It has been my position that I – along with the two staff members with me that day – acted in a professional though certainly purposeful manner to get to the bottom of an administrative matter. Official statements and polygraph examinations, which my staff and I took voluntarily, support that position. We took that step to be fully forthcoming. Again, I regret any misunderstanding and any disruption that I may have brought to the important work that is conducted by Metro Court staff. I look forward to working hand in hand with Judge Blackburn to make Davidson County's treatment courts the very best in Tennessee.”