A controversial domestic violence case has left several people calling for the resignation of General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland.
But now supporters of the embattled public figure are speaking out to defend the man they claim practically saved their lives.
Moreland has overseen a misdemeanor drug court program in Davidson County since 2003. Participants came forward Monday to share the Moreland they know.
"He is no villain," said Jim Horn, a recovering addict." He is a very good man, he's a moral man."
The individuals who spoke share some similarities. They've all battled with drug and/or alcohol addiction. Now, they all say they've found jobs and stay clean.
"If it wasn't for the drug court program, I would not be here today," said Shane Demonbruen, another recovering drug addict.
Demonbruen credits much of his success to Moreland's misdemeanor program. The Nashville man said he recently won custody of his son because he's remained drug-free for two years.
Moreland recently came under fire after letting prominent Nashville developer David Chase out of jail on June 8. He waived a 12-hour holding period meant to protect victims of domestic violence. Police said Chase returned to his apartment after his release and beat his ex-girlfriend again for a second time that morning.
Thirteen Metro council members wrote a letter to Moreland last week, asking him to resign. But some former drug court participants say they hope he stays in office. Suzanne Durham said she completely transformed during her time in drug court. That's because Moreland refused to cut anybody slack.
"We call it a nudge from the judge," Durham said. "If it wasn't a nudge from the judge, I probably wouldn't be where I am." The woman claims Moreland sent her to jail after she refused to end an unhealthy relationship.
"I didn't like him the day he sent me to jail," Durham said.
"But now?" asked Channel 4 reporter Alanna Autler.
"I love him," Durham replied.
Since 2003, the General Sessions Drug Court has assisted more than 600 people with an 80 percent success rate among graduates, according to the Davidson County Drug Court Foundation.
These individuals refused to make excuses for Moreland; they acknowledged domestic violence remains a pervasive issue in the community.
But they hope others will wait before rushing to judge Moreland. They said that's the courtesy he once offered them.
"Everybody makes mistakes," Horn said. "And he's admitted he has made a mistake, freely."
Moreland declined to comment Monday.
More than 120 people have joined a Facebook group about Moreland in light of this controversy. Most members voice their support for the official.
"I think most everyone who knows about his work with the drug court knows that he has done a really good job there, and his heart is really in the right place," said Moreland's attorney, Robert Delaney, in an email.
Delaney said last week Moreland acknowledged he wrongly waived the waiting period for Chase.
Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics