STATEMENT FROM LANDRUM, FRIDUSS & ASH
For now the second time, a high profile lawsuit filed against former Murray County, Georgia Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran has been thrown out of court. On Friday, February 7, Federal Judge Harold Murphy tossed the sensational claims of Angela Garmley, who has alleged that Cochran propositioned her for sex in exchange for favorable court rulings. When she refused to go down that path, Garmley also claims that Cochran then orchestrated the planting of methamphetamine in her car, leading to the arrest of three people, herself included. A sexual harassment lawsuit brought by three former Magistrate Court employees met a similar fate last Fall.
As for the first claim, the one involving the solicitation of sex for favorable court rulings, the Court found that Garmley got precisely the justice she came to court to obtain – Judge Cochran issued warrants for the arrests of three people alleged to have assaulted Garmley, and each of the alleged assailants were in fact arrested – exactly the justice she had come to Court to get. The Court also agreed with Cochran's lawyer, Woodstock's Phil Friduss, that while distasteful were it actually to have happened, asking for sex is not a civil rights violation. As Friduss was previously quoted, "It never happened."
As for the planting of drugs, which has led to the conviction of three others, including two former Murray County Deputy Sheriffs, the Court again agreed with Friduss, holding that the conspiracy claim against Cochran was not “plausible on its face.” "My client has always been forthright about the arrests. He called in the fact that drugs could be found on Garmley, and where in the car the drugs could be found. Garmley and her lawyers are the ones that have yelled at the top of their lungs that Cochran therefore must have been involved in the plant. The Federal Court was not willing to accept that leap without more. Garmley and her lawyers simply didn't and don't have more."