Former Nashville judge pleads guilty to federal obstruction, theft charges

Staff Reports • May 24, 2018 at 5:13 PM

Former Davidson County general sessions judge Cason “Casey” Moreland, 60, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to five counts related to obstruction of justice, witness tampering and stealing money from an organization receiving federal funds.

Moreland was originally indicted in April 2017 and charged with five counts of obstruction of justice. The indictment resulted from an FBI investigation into whether Moreland solicited sexual favors in exchange for favorable judicial treatment while sitting as a general sessions court judge in Nashville and Davidson County.

According to admissions made in connection with Moreland’s plea agreement, in February 2017, Moreland became aware he was a target of an investigation and tried to obstruct it. Specifically, he devised a scheme to pay a material witness to sign a false affidavit recanting her previous statements, which implicated his criminal conduct in trading judicial favors for sex.

He also devised a scheme to have drugs planted in the witness’ car, and then to have her stopped by police, so she would be arrested and her credibility would be destroyed. Moreland carried out these schemes by using a burner phone registered in the name of “Raul Rodriguez” and spoke to a person who then became an informant, working at the direction of the FBI.

A superseding indictment returned March 15 charged Moreland with five additional charges that stemmed from his involvement with the general sessions drug treatment court, a specialized court program designed to provide alternatives to incarceration for certain defendants. The work of the drug treatment court was supported by a nonprofit entity called the Davidson County Drug Court Foundation. Although Moreland did not have an official position with the Drug Court Foundation, he exercised de facto authority over the Drug Court Foundation’s operations.

Moreland also admitted, beginning the spring 2016, he began to embezzle cash from the Drug Court Foundation by directing the Drug Court Foundation’s director to deliver to his office envelopes of cash he had collected from people who sought outpatient treatment for substance abuse. Then, in February 2017, after learning of the FBI’s investigation, he instructed the foundation’s director to destroy all documents and records that related to the cash payments he had embezzled. Finally, in February, at a time when he was on pre-trial release for the original charges, Moreland admitted he tried to tamper with a witness by suggesting to the Drug Court Foundation’s director that she lie to the grand jury investigating his conduct.

Moreland will be sentenced Aug. 31.

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