published Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Ex-Murray County chief magistrate indicted on federal charges

  • photo
    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.

After nearly two years under federal investigation, prosecutors today indicted former Murray County, Ga., Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran for conspiring to plant drugs on his accuser's car.

Cochran was indicted on charges including conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, depriving his employees of their rights and tampering with a witness.

Those charges stem from accusations that Cochran devised a plan to plant drugs on Angela Garmley's car. Garmley's complaint that Cochran had pressured her for sex in his judge chambers launched a state ethics complaint that led to Cochran's resignation in August 2012.

Cochran has also been charged with harassing his employees and searching their cellphones without permission.

Attorney McCracken Poston, who represented Garmley and the three female employees harassed, said the government has made a first step toward justice.

"Now that the government has finally made federal criminal charges against the former judge, we look forward to watching Mr. Cochran avail himself of each and every constitutional right and privilege that he wanted to deny my clients," Poston said in a statement.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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