WSMV Channel 4 NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Text messages sent from Judge Casey Moreland while he was on the bench, referring to defendants as “hos” and “junkies,” raise concerns for one of the nation’s foremost experts on judicial ethics.
The text messages came between Moreland and Natalie Amos, who the Channel 4 I-Team found received assistance from Moreland both during a traffic stop and to erase traffic fines.
Many of the texts cannot be reprinted because of sexually explicit content.
in our review of thousands of text message, the I-Team came upon texts
Moreland sent Amos while he was in court for cases of human trafficking,
prostitution and drug addiction.
In one series of texts, Amos sent a Bitmoji telling Moreland to pay attention to her.
He responds in a text reading, “Just been working! Sorry! My hos in court keep me busy.”
a derogatory term that Moreland used in another text, where he wrote to
Amos, “Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my busy days! Hos and junkies!”
I-Team showed the texts as well as all our previous investigations to
Indiana University Maurer School of Law professor Charlie Geyh, a
Carnegie fellow who has testified before the U.S. Senate as an expert on
"If you're using disparaging terms to
characterize people who appear before you on a pretty regular basis, it
suggests you harbor a bias against them that calls your impartiality
into question,” Geyh said.
The I-Team showed him how repeatedly,
Moreland texted Amos for personal reasons while he was holding court,
including cases where he was listening to information about a wire tape
and on a cocaine case.
At one point, Moreland sent her a picture of the defendants before him.
"The business of being on the telephone, in the middle of court proceedings, is itself a problem," Geyh said.
We also showed Geyh our investigation into Moreland’s involvement in Amos’ ticket and fines.
think it's still very problematic,” he said. “Judges need to be mindful
of the power they exercise and not to use that power for their own
After reviewing our investigations, Geyh said it is time for Moreland to rethink his career.
all that is reported is true, this may not be a judge who is well
suited for the bench. I think the best bet is to step down,” Geyh said.
the preamble of the Tennessee Judicial Code, it reads, “Judges should
maintain the dignity of judicial office at all times, and avoid both
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and
In the attempt to once more try to speak with
Judge Moreland, the I-Team sent two emails, containing all of the texts,
to Moreland’s attorney. We are still waiting to hear back.
Full Article & Source:
Legal expert: Judge Moreland's texts from the bench raise concerns