Former Nashville General Sessions Judge Sentenced to Federal Prison for Obstruction and Theft Charges
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – November 30, 2018 – Former Davidson County General Sessions Judge Cason “Casey” Moreland, 61, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to 44 months in prison, restitution of $18,000 and a forfeiture of $13,500 for obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and stealing money from an organization receiving federal funds, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowskiof the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Moreland pleaded guilty to five counts of a superseding indictment on May 24.
In pronouncing the sentence, Chief U.S. District Judge Waverly D. Crenshaw remarked, “Everyone, even judges, are subject to the rule of law."
Moreland was originally indicted in April 2017 and charged with five counts of obstruction of justice. This 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, Tennessee. According to admissions made in connection with Moreland’s plea agreement, in February 2017, Moreland became aware that he was a target of an investigation and took steps to try 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’s car, and then to have her stopped by police, so that 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 communicating with an individual who subsequently became an informant, working at the direction of the FBI.
A superseding indictment returned on March 15, 2018, charged Moreland with five additional charges stemming 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 (the “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 that beginning in spring 2016, he began embezzling cash from the Drug Court Foundation by directing the Drug Court Foundation’s director to deliver to his office envelopes of cash that she had collected from individuals seeking 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 relating to the cash payments that he had embezzled. Finally, in February 2018, at a time when he was on pre-trial release for the original charges, Moreland admitted that he attempted to tamper with a witness by suggesting to the Drug Court Foundation’s director that she lie to the grand jury investigating his conduct.
This case was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cecil VanDevender of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorneys Lauren Bell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.