Local News

February 11, 2014

Lawyers weigh options after judge rules against Garmley suit

Attorneys for a woman who tried suing former Murray County chief magistrate Bryant Cochran are considering their options since a federal judge tossed out the suit against him.

Murray County resident Angela Garmley sued Cochran and the two fired sheriff’s officers involved in her arrest last spring in federal court in Rome, claiming Cochran orchestrated a scheme to have her arrested on trumped up drug charges after she refused his sexual advances.

According to a press release from Cochran’s attorney, Phillip Friduss, Judge Harold Murphy found that Garmley actually got the justice she asked for in Cochran’s court — warrants for the arrests of three people she said assaulted her. The judge also found that asking for sex “while distasteful were it to actually have happened ... is not a civil rights violation,” according to the release.

Friduss has denied Cochran orchestrated an alleged conspiracy to plant meth on Garmley’s vehicle in order to discredit her. Garmley and two others were arrested, but the charges were dropped after an investigation found someone planted the meth there.

Three people involved in that incident have been sentenced to federal prison, including two former sheriff’s officers who were charged with obstructing justice for lying in a Georgia Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the matter.

An ongoing federal investigation into Cochran’s actions prevented attorneys from obtaining some of the documentation they believe might have made a difference in this lawsuit, said McCracken Poston, one of Garmley’s attorneys.

Stuart James, another attorney for Garmley, said the judge only dismissed the case against Cochran, not against the two former officers. He said he’ll decide by next week whether to appeal, ask the judge to reconsider the case when more information on the criminal investigation comes to light, or move forward with a suit only against the two former officers.

“I have the utmost respect for Judge Murphy, but in this case I just think that he’s wrong,” James said.

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