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Judge, Attorney In Domestic Violence Case Planned New Vacation

Judge, Attorney In Domestic Violence Case Planned New Vacation

By Ben Hall. CREATED Jun 20, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- E-mails obtained by NewsChannel 5 Investigates raise even more questions about the judge and attorney involved in a high profile domestic violence case.

It comes after outrage from council members and the police chief involving the early release of the attorney's client, who was accused of domestic assault.

Those e-mails show General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland and attorney Bryan Lewis planned another vacation together for next month and they've also communicated about this controversy.

In April, attorney Lewis e-mailed Moreland with details about a whitewater rafting trip in Idaho. 

It is a six-day, five-night trip down the Middle Fork Salmon River. Lewis indicated his law partner and others were going on the trip, and he sent Judge Moreland information. 

The itinerary describes "excellent fishing," "catered camping" and some of the "most pristine terrain in all the state."

On April 7, the e-mails show a confirmation for Lewis and Moreland on the trip with a price of around $2,400 each.  

It is unclear who was paying.

Judge Moreland did not return our calls about the trip.

Earlier in the week, after pictures of Lewis and Moreland vacationing in Costa Rica appeared, the judge said he and Lewis are longtime friends and have vacationed together before.

But, for others, it raises concerns about unequal access to justice.  

Lewis called Moreland after his client, well-known developer David Chase, was arrested on domestic violence charges -- and Moreland approved Chase's early release from jail.  

Police say Chase then went back to his house and attacked the woman again.

The e-mails also show, when the controversy erupted, both District Attorney Torry Johnson and Police Chief Steve Anderson e-mailed Moreland's court saying they'd received media calls.

Torry Johnson questioned why Chase was let out early and stated "it is difficult to imagine how that could have occurred."  

And Anderson said "the current climate around and attention given to domestic violence arrests will not allow this situation to go unnoticed."

In both cases, Moreland promptly forwarded those e-mails to Chase's attorney, Bryan Lewis. (Read the emails.)

And there are new questions about interviews given earlier this week by attorney Sean McKinney, after Moreland and Lewis provided his name to the media.

McKinney claimed he was speaking for the victim in the case and that she wanted her name kept out of media reports. But McKinney claimed that she was not upset at Judge Moreland.

Now the victim tells NewsChannel 5 that McKinney was never authorized to speak for her and she is, in fact, mad at the system for "failing to keep me safe."

"And I am mad at Judge Moreland for not looking more into my case before he let David go," she said in an email.

Neither Judge Moreland nor Bryan Lewis returned our calls.  

Attorney Sean McKinney says he felt he was allowed to speak for the victim at the time, but cannot speak for her now.

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Hall

Ben Hall

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Ben Hall is a veteran reporter at NewsChannel 5. He has covered the state legislature, presidential campaigns and is presently part of NewsChannel 5's award-winning investigative unit.