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Judge Reprimanded for Assault Suspect’s Release

NASHVILLE (CN) - A county judge was reprimanded because his influence resulted in a domestic assault suspect's early release and an alleged repeat attack.

The Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Davidson County General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland last week for improperly contacting a judicial commissioner about a domestic violence case.

David Chase was arrested for domestic assault June 8 and was brought before judicial commissioner Steve Holzapfel. Chase is a prominent real estate developer accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend that day, according to a Tennessean report.

Holzapfel determined Chase was a threat to the alleged victim and held him 12 hours after the arrest as required by state law, according to the reprimand written by board chair Chris Craft.

"Shortly after the arrest of Mr. Chase, you received a call from Mr. Bryan Lewis, an attorney and social friend of yours, who indicated that he represented Mr. Chase. Mr. Lewis indicated to you that the affidavit of complaint was incorrect in that Mr. Chase and the alleged victim were not dating and that no domestic relationship existed between them," Craft wrote. "Based on that information, which was later found to be incorrect, you contacted Commissioner Holzapfel and communicated to him that the 12-hour hold should not be imposed because it was not a domestic relationship."

The hold was waived and Chase returned to his apartment where he allegedly committed the same crime again.

"As a result of your communication with the judicial commissioner, Mr. Chase was released without the 12-hour hold being imposed, and soon returned to his apartment, where it is alleged that he again assaulted the victim of the alleged original domestic assault," Moreland's reprimand reads.

Moreland's conduct violated judicial canons and state law because it affected the integrity of the judiciary, the letter states.

The board's reprimand notes that Moreland was cooperative during the investigation and he admitted that contacting the commissioner was a mistake.

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