NASHVILLE, TN — The Metro Council on Tuesday selected Councilman Nick Leonardo, an attorney who also serves as a legal analyst for NewsChannel5 to serve as the newest General Sessions judge as the Metro Council voted 21 to 16 to elect him.
“I am thankful to the Council for their support in voting for me to become General Sessions Judge. This is an honor I will uphold in high esteem.” Before the vote, Leonardo and his opponent were allowed to make presentations to the Council to make their case. Leonardo made a passionate and poignant speech to inform the council why they should vote for him.
Leonard said, “We need people on the bench who can be fair, who aren’t doing it because it’s a pay raise. We need people who have been in private practice and who have seen the trials and tribulations of the average person.”
Leonardo will take the vacant seat of Division III judgeship of the honorable Judge Angelita Blackshear Dalton, who was recently appointed as a Criminal Court judge.
Leonardo leaves his seat just 16 months after he replaced former Councilman Loniel Green Jr.
Division III is one of three Nashville courts that handles domestic violence cases on a rotating basis. Escobar, who called herself an “expert” on the topic Thursday, has used the council twice as a fast tract for a judgeship and was endorsed by domestic violence victim advocates. Her opponent said that domestic violence is not just a women’s issue that should go before only female judges.
The Tribune notes that when women discuss domestic violence, it is often assumed that the victims are women. And only women judges should hear these cases. And the statistics are truly traumatic. The less-told story is that a striking number of men are victims, too, suffering physical, mental and sexual abuse in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships. According to the CDC, one in four adult men in the U.S. will become a victim of domestic violence during his lifetime. That’s upwards of three million male domestic violence victims every year, or one man in America abused by an intimate or domestic partner every 37.8 seconds.
Highlighting these statistics is not meant to downplay in any way domestic violence among women. It is, however, intended to add to the growing conversation that anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse and everyone who needs protection deserves access to it.
Male victims of domestic violence, just like female victims, often deal with intense self-doubt and anxiety before reaching out for help. Victims may fear their abusers will seek retribution if they go to the police, or they feel great uncertainty about leaving their home for temporary safe house shelter. Men and women can both experience these kinds of worries. But one barrier to that tends to only apply to male victims? The belief that domestic violence laws and resources don’t apply to them or that only female’s judges should hear domestic violence cases is not the case in America or Nashville.