A recent study revealed that domestic violence is Davidson County's biggest problem.
It's so bad that domestic violence accounts for nearly half of all crime, and those on the front line say what happened to a Nashville woman shows a system that is meant to protect needs improvement.
Court papers show Lauren Bull went to police for help after she says she was assaulted by her former boyfriend at an apartment on Elliston Place on Sunday.
Police then arrested prominent Nashville contractor David A. Chase.
By law, if the commissioner determines the suspect is a threat to the victim, the person is kept behind bars for 12 hours as a cooling-off period.
However, Chase was released less than three hours after booking, and court papers show that Chase headed back to the apartment where Bull was gathering her belongings and allegedly attacked the woman again.
"It's truly unfortunate that this happened twice in the same day to her, through no fault of her own," said Tali Rosenblum, assistant district attorney in Davidson County.
Rosenblum says what happened to Bull shows there are problems in the system.
"There's no excuse for a victim to be told that her abuser is going to be held for 12 hours and she has 12 hours to be safe and not worry about him," she said.
Court papers show that the magistrate even checked that Chase was a threat to Bull, then waived the 12-hour wait and wrote, "Not domestic relationship, per General Sessions Judge Casey Moreland."
The second time Chase was arrested, the magistrate saw Chase as a threat to Bull but let him go again.
Cathy Gurley, an advocate for domestic violence victims, says what happened to Bull magnifies the need to enforce the 12-hour hold.
"You have to assume that if there is an arrest, the arresting officer or the other enforcement people who are on the scene had some reason to believe that this did occur, and you want a cooling-off period," she said.
Gurley says Bull is lucky to be alive.
"We are fortunate that we are talking about a woman who is recovering from her injuries," she said.
Channel 4 reached out to Moreland and Chase's attorney but did not hear back from either by the time this story went to air.
Chase is facing several charges, including domestic assault, and is out of jail on bond. However, the District Attorney's Office has filed a motion to revoke it.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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