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Judge Repeatedly Dogged By Ethics Questions

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 13:30:00-04

An FBI investigation involving General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland isn't the first ethics controversy he has faced.

As the judge who started the General Sessions Drug Court, Casey Moreland has earned high praise for his work with addicts.

But, more than once, he's also found himself at the center of controversy, beginning in 2006 with a ticket-fixing scandal uncovered by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

At the time, we asked the judge, "If a police officer comes to you and says 'Judge, this ticket was given to a friend of mine," would you dismiss it?"

 "Have I dismissed it? Yes," Moreland admitted.

Among the tickets that he dismissed was one for then House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

Moreland said he decided to dismiss all the tickets on the docket with Naifeh that day because he just happened to be in a good mood.

We noted, "Sounds like what you're saying... instead of the justice system, it's the lottery system."

"That day, it probably was," the judge acknowledged.

Then, in 2009, Moreland received a private reprimand from the board that oversees Tennessee judges after our investigation caught him using court employees to work around his house.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates confronted Moreland with the information that one employee was at his house without taking leave from his court job.

 "He was on city time. He did not take that day off," we noted.

"Well, he should have," the judge answered.

We replied, "But you're the one supervising whether he does or not."

Moreland nodded, "I understand."

Five years later, Moreland was publicly reprimanded after he intervened in a domestic violence case at the request of his attorney friend Bryan Lewis.

In that case, he arranged to have Lewis's client, developer David Chase, released from jail -- despite a state law requiring a 12-hour hold.

Still, Moreland refused to admit any wrongdoing.

"I would never intentionally hurt anybody or do something that would hurt someone like that, especially, especially a woman."

The Nashville Scene reports that an anonymous ethics complaint has been filed against Judge Moreland and others over these latest allegations.

Because that complaint wasn't sent to us -- and because those complaints are not public -- we cannot independently confirm that information.

Still, Judge Moreland insisted to the Scene that he has not done anything improper.

Related stories and documents:
NC5 Investigates: Disorder in the Court