published Monday, September 10th, 2012

Former Murray County judge faces EEOC complaint from his staff

Former Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran and Angela Garmley. Garmley's accusations against Cochran initiated a state investigation that led to the judge's resignation.
Former Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran and Angela Garmley. Garmley's accusations against Cochran initiated a state investigation that led to the judge's resignation.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A former Murray County judge who is already under state investigation is now being accused of creating a hostile work environment by the female staff in the Magistrate’s office.

The women, who haven’t been named yet, filed the complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that the office under Magistrate Chief Judge Bryant Cochran was hostile to women and inappropriate, said their attorneys, Stuart James and McCracken Poston, in a news release.

“Based upon what I have seen from former Judge Cochran it is no surprise that his actions have impacted many people — he felt he could regularly exceed the authority of his elected office,” James wrote.

Cochran stepped down during a Judicial Qualifications Commission investigation looking into whether the judge had propositioned Angie Garmley for sex in exchange for a favorable ruling in her case and whether he was pre-signing search warrants.

Weeks after Garmley came forward with her accusations against Cochran, she was arrested on drug charges.

Cochran resigned the next day, and prosecutors asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigations to look into Cochran’s behavior and the allegations against Garmley.

The charges against Garmley were dismissed and two officers were fired after the GBI found they had lied about the investigation into Garmley.

about Joy Lukachick...

Joy Lukachick is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press Since 2009, she's covered breaking news, high-profile trials, stories of lost lives and of regained hope and done investigative work. Raised near the Bayou, Joy’s hometown is along the outskirts of Baton Rouge, La. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Joy was a staff writer for the Daily Reveille. When Joy isn't chasing ...

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