Judge Plants Drugs in Woman's Car for Accusing Him of Sexual Assault

A Georgia judge will spend the next five years in prison after being convicted of planting evidence on a woman who accused him of sexual assault. Former Murray County Magistrate Bryant Cochran "absolutely destroyed" the public's trust in the justice system, said U.S. District Court Judge Harold Murphy, as he sentenced his ex-colleague.

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According to state and federal investigators, Cochran set meth addict Angela Garmley up to be arrested after she accused him of sexual harassment. He obviously thought no one would think twice, because meth addicts aren't people, apparently, so he hid some drugs in her car and tipped off the police in August 2012.

Garmley read a statement in court before Murphy pronounced a sentence. She said that she visited Cochran's office in April 2012, asking him to issue arrest warrants for her neighbors, whom she claimed had assaulted her on Easter morning. She said that Cochran "propositioned her for sex and lewd pictures," and that she was arrested weeks after reporting him to the Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Dude. It's hard to tell what happened here exactly, but it is not OK to go around the law and plant evidence to get a "nuisance" arrested! Maybe he sexually assaulted her, or maybe she wasn't acting appropriately, but none of that matters now, because it doesn't get to be sorted out properly. 

Whether she was on meth or not at the time, it doesn't mean that she doesn't have just as much right to the law as anyone else. The whole thing seems fishy anyway, because why would Cochran plant evidence if he knew he was in the right? Was that their first interaction? It seems unlikely that a member of the judicial system would solicit sex from someone asking for help after being assaulted.

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I'm glad that Cochran will spend time behind bars, because it's deeply unsettling that he would take the law into his own hands like that. During the sentencing, Murphy said, "When a judge clearly violates the trust put in him or her by the public ... it is not a minor offense. The public needs confidence that a judicial officer who does wrong will be punished."

Amen. After serving his five years in a Florida prison, Cochran will be on probation for three more years, and will be required to complete 100 hours of community service.

Do you think this punishment is just?

 

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