UPDATE: Judge Accused Of Propositioning Woman Amid Investigation For Pre-Approving Warrants.

Posted on August 24, 2012


UPDATE:  The charges against Angela Garmley are going to be dropped.  The full update follows the original story below.

Originally posted 8/17/2012.

Georgia (The Gaslamp Post) – A woman who was arrested Tuesday night and charged with possession of methamphetamine has accused a judge of propositioning her in a statement she made yesterday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  What complicates the story further is that the judge had stepped down Wednesday amid allegations of misconduct, stemming from him admittedly pre-signing warrants for police.

Former Chief Magistrate Bryant Cochran. Image Dalton Daily Citizen.

Murray County Chief Magistrate Hon. Bryant Cochran reportedly stepped down Wednesday after news of the arrant warrants surfaced.  Former judge Cochran is denying allegations of propositioning anyone but released a statement stating that, “This (the pre signed warrants) is solely the reason for my resignation.  My first responsibility is to my family and our well-being.”

36-year-old Angela Garmley told investigators that she had gone to the former judge in April, seeking an arrest warrant for several individuals who she claimed had attacked her.  She stated that it was at that time that the former judge had propositioned her, telling her that he sought a mistress who he could trust and then instructed her to return to his office in several days, wearing a dress and no underwear.

Arrested: Angela Garmley, 36, accuses fmr. Judge Cochran of trying to proposition her and claims drugs were planted on her car. Image Dalton Daily Citizen.

Garmley’s vehicle was stopped by police earlier this week for driving with the brights on.  Another man was driving Garmley’s car while she and her husband were riding inside.  After consenting to a search of the vehicle, a K9 unit detected a metal box or can under the car, containing a crystal substance later found to be methamphetamine.

Counsel for Garmley has stated that his client denies any knowledge of drugs being under her car and has stated his suspicion that they were planted there.

Cochran, who was recently elected to his third term as Chief Magistrate was a former police officer prior to becoming a judge.  The state has two part-time magistrates who are going to assume Cochran’s duties until a new magistrate can be appointed.

In a statement released by Cochran, he wrote:

“My first responsibility is to my family and our well-being. Eight years ago I asked to be a public official, but I never asked for my loved ones to be brought under fire. Your family and mine should be off limits! These attacks have crossed a line that shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. At the end of the day this is just a job and I can’t think of any job worth what we’ve been put through. Thank you to my friends, family and supporters for everything. I hope you understand and respect my decision. Sometimes it is not a question of whether or not to fight but what are you going to win?”

The former judge believes this move to be politically motivated.  “This is a politically timed, politically motivated personal attack on my family and I,” said Cochran according to the Daily Citizen.

The Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission is investigating Cochran and will determine whether or not to pursue criminal charges.

UPDATE:     After an investigation into the accusation of alleged propositioning against former Chief magistrate Bryant Cochran, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has moved to have the drug charges against Angela Garmley dropped.

Although Cochran has maintained that he has done nothing wrong, evidence disclosed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is suggesting otherwise.

(Garmley) provided the AJC a recording of a phone conversation she had with the judge. During the call, Cochran asked Garmley if her sister had access to messages they had been sending to one another. “We have not done a damn thing,” Cochran said. “I know we joked around and stuff on the text messages, but I don’t know.”

Garmley’s attorney has stated all throughout the ordeal that the drug possession charges were nothing more than trumped-up retribution against her because she went public with the allegations.

“Obviously, my client is relieved,” said Poston, a former state legislator. “We’ve yet to see how high and deep this goes. But I’m very confident that operatives of former judge Bryant Cochran are in on this.”

Murray County citizens, he said, “should be outraged that this can happen in this day and time. It reads like some Southern Gothic novel.”

The investigation is presently ongoing.