Former Nashville judge pleads guilty to corruption charges

Former Davidson County General Sessions Court Judges Casey Moreland pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges involving an attempted bribe and stealing from a program for recovering drug addicts, reports The Tennessean.

Moreland, 60, sat in a teal jail jumpsuit while prosecutors described the theft and his elaborate and repeated attempts to squelch a corruption investigation against him.

Standing under oath moments later in the U.S. District Court in Nashville, Moreland admitted it was true. He pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, retaliating against a witness, theft from a federally funded program, destruction of records and witness tampering.

The plea change, which came days before he was set to stand trial, was brokered in an agreement between Moreland and federal prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney Don Cochran, who prosecutes federal cases in Middle Tennessee, cheered the outcome after the hearing Thursday afternoon. He praised the attorneys and investigators “whose relentless work on this case helped to bring justice.”

“This is a very serious case,” Cochran said outside the courtroom. “This is somebody who was a judge. He was sworn to uphold the law, and instead of doing that he violated that oath, dishonored the robe he wore and then also broke the law himself.”

… “Judge Moreland gave a large part of his adult life to this community,” (Moreland attorney Peter) Strianse said. “It’s sad to see that it has to end that way, but I think…he certainly made the correct decision.”

The plea agreement did not include a deal on a possible sentence. Federal law allows for a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison for Moreland’s charges. Strianse said federal guidelines he had discussed with prosecutors suggested a window of three to four years behind bars.

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