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Lawmakers Want Mandatory 'Cool Off' Period For Abuse Suspects

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

Lawmakers Want Mandatory 'Cool Off' Period For Abuse Suspects

CREATED Jun 19, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The case at the center of a public argument between Nashville’s police chief and a general sessions court judge has made its way to the state legislature.

Two Tennessee lawmakers announced Thursday they plan support new legislation to make the 12 hour “cooling off period” mandatory.

The legislation was proposed in the wake of an argument between Metro Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson and Judge Casey Moreland.

Chief Anderson sent a scathing memo earlier this week, blasting Judge Moreland for releasing the suspect arrested in a domestic assault case from jail before the usual 12-hour detainment.

The suspect allegedly went back to his girlfriend’s home where their argument picked back up and he assaulted her again. He was arrested a second time.

The suspect was David Chase, a high-profile real estate developer in Nashville. His attorney, Brian Lewis, has been a friend of Judge Moreland’s for years. The two were even part of a group who went on vacation together in Costa Rica.

Some, including Chief Anderson, believed Moreland did Lewis a favor by releasing his client early.

In an interview with NewsChannel 5, Moreland admitted to making a mistake.

"I apologize. If I made a mistake based on bad information, I apologized. I took responsibility for it," said Moreland.

He said the police chief sent the memo because of a grudge over an incident several years ago, and was unnecessary to send.

"That memo was nothing more than a very unprofessional, rambling rant that was a slanderous attack on me," said Moreland.

House Speaker Beth Harwell said after following Chase’s story it was time to make sure domestic violence victims never have to deal with this again.

"We wanted to give judges discretion, but when they abuse that discretion or don't apply it in the correct way then it's time for us come in as a legislative body and remove that discretion,” she said.

They hope making the hold mandatory will send a message to victims.

"I think this was just a loophole that was abused and we want to take that away to protect the people who need our protection the most,” Harwell said.

Representative William Lamberth of Sumner County will introduce the bill next session.

Chase was in court Thursday as part of a bond revocation hearing for a 2012 DUI charge. An Assistant District Attorney argued the domestic violence arrests were in violation of his bond stipulations.

Defense attorney Rich McGee said the case was not so clear cut.

“I've been practicing law for 36 years. Very rarely have I found a case that's black and white. There's usually two sides to every story,” he said.

McGee spoke on why his client shouldn't go to jail -- while the state argued how Chase was a danger to the community after previous DUI arrests and should be in jail.

In the end, Judge Amanda McClendon did not revoke Chase's bond, but did put him on house arrest. She also ordered him to wear an alcohol monitoring device on one ankle, and a GPS device on the other.

Chase must also attend alcohol treatment.

He has been scheduled to appear in court next Thursday on the domestic violence charges.