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Nashville Judges Make New Bail Rule -- John Dunn

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Nashville judges say it is time to restore the public's trust and confidence. It comes after a Nashville man was arrested for domestic assault, released from jail a few hours later, and then charged with assaulting the same woman for a second time.    
Nashville judges say it is time to act. The General Sessions judges gathered for a special meeting Friday.

The actions surrounding the domestic violence charges against contractor David Chase have the court system in the spotlight. "We as General Sessions judges are taking care of business, and we want the public to know that," says presiding Judge Bill Higgins.

The controversy surrounds how Chase's 12 hour hold in the Metro jail was handled. Nashville Judge Casey Moreland took a phone call from his friend, who was also Chase's attorney. Moreland then granted Chase an early release. Chase allegedly returned home and assaulted his ex-girlfriend only three hours after his first arrest.

Now a new rule will affect how bail is granted. If a suspect seeks to have his or her 12 hour hold lifted, they must appear in court with all interested parties present.

The judges also reaffirmed their commitment to upholding laws and judicial ethics, including a strict prohibition against ex parte communications. "Judges don't discuss pending cases, talk to one party or the other except when they're both present," says Judge Bill Higgins.

Beginning in September two judges will be exclusively devoted to domestic violence cases. The goal is to uphold justice and protect the innocent. "All we have is the trust and the confidence of the people, and if that's lost the system would collapse," says Judge Higgins.

Judge Casey Moreland did not attend Friday's meeting. We were told that he was dealing with high blood pressure and could not make it. There are some who are calling for his resignation.

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