A former North Georgia judge has been sentenced to five years in prison for orchestrating the false arrest of a woman he had sexually propositioned, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday.
Former Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant L. Cochran was also convicted in December of witness tampering, sexually assaulting a county employee and illegally searching a cell phone, federal authorities said.
“Cochran used the power of the bench to victimize a citizen seeking justice and to exploit his staff,” Acting U.S. Attorney John A. Horn in Atlanta said in a release. “There is no greater breakdown in the justice system than when the judge himself violates other citizens’ rights to simply advantage himself.”
On April 9, 2012, Cochran, who had been chief magistrate since 2004, met with a woman involved in a legal matter and offered to trade sex for a favorable legal ruling, federal authorities said. The woman publicly accused Cochran of propositioning her, the media reported, and Cochran orchestrated a plot against her, authorities said.
Cochran, 45, of Chatsworth, worked with an accomplice to plant five packets of methamphetamine under the fender of the woman’s car and then “tipped” police, authorities said.
Two Murray County sheriff’s deputies also were convicted of witness tampering in 2013. One of the deputies was a ranking captain who was Cochran’s cousin, federal authorities said.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.