August 25, 2012

Attorney says investigation shows drugs planted in judge accuser’s vehicle

Rachel Brown

— The attorney for a woman who was recently cleared of drug possession charges after her complaint sparked an investigation of a Murray County judge said evidence shows the drugs were planted on her car.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) official wouldn’t say what led to the dismissal of a possession of methamphetamine charge against Angela Garmley by the district attorney, saying he couldn’t provide details while the investigation is ongoing.

“The charges against her have been dismissed, and we are continuing our investigation into that incident and other allegations,” said Special-Agent-In-Charge Jerry Scott.

Attorney McCracken Poston said he had talked with GBI officials and learned there were “findings in the investigation that drugs were indeed planted on her (Angela Garmley’s) vehicle.”

Garmley was charged Aug. 14 by the Murray County Sheriff’s Office with possession of meth after an officer discovered a magnetized metal can he said was full of the drug underneath her car during a traffic stop. District Attorney Bert Poston dismissed that charge this week as well as charges against a man who was driving her home. Poston declined to discuss what the evidence showed.

Weeks before the arrest, Garmley had publicly accused former chief magistrate Bryant Cochran of soliciting her for sexual favors. The charge prompted the Judicial Qualifications Commission, a state agency, to investigate and eventually turn its findings over to the GBI.

“Obviously, my client is relieved,” said McCracken Poston, no relation to Bert Poston. “She still firmly believes that operatives of former chief magistrate judge Bryant Cochran were behind this, motivated by a desire to punish her for coming forward with information that led to Cochran’s resignation.”

Cochran resigned his post of eight years on Aug. 15, saying he did so because he had pre-signed warrants, which the GBI is still investigating. Cochran has not admitted to any wrongdoing with respect to Garmley. His attorney, Chris Townley, did not immediately return a message on Friday.

“Murray County citizens should be outraged that this can happen in this day and time,” McCracken Poston said. “It reads like some Southern gothic novel. Citizens should feel safe in their persons and effects that they will not have drugs planted upon them and an arrest staged on trumped-up charges for which they could go to prison for decades.”

Murray County Sheriff Howard Ensley said his office is awaiting the results of the GBI investigation.