Former Judge Sentenced For Framing Woman In Drug Arrest

By McCarton Ackerman 12/17/14

Bryant Cochran was accused of planting drugs in the car of a woman who accused him of soliciting sex.

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Former judge Bryant Cochran will soon be on the receiving end of a sentence after being found guilty this week of framing a woman in her drug arrest.

The Georgia native and ex-chief magistrate of Murray County from 2004-2012 was convicted of planting meth in the car of a woman who had accused him of sexual misconduct.

Angela Gambey accused Cochran in July 2012 of soliciting her for sex at his office. One month later, in what appeared to be a routine traffic stop, her vehicle was searched and police found five bags of meth underneath the car.

Prosecutors claim that Cochran hired a tenant of the trailer park, Clifford J. Joyce, to plant the drugs. He then told police that they would find drugs in Gambey’s car and indicated exactly where they would be hidden, sparking the traffic stop. He also reportedly convinced a childhood friend to give investigators false information regarding the case.

The charges against Gambey were later dropped and Cochran was eventually brought to trial. Joyce eventually admitted to planting the drugs and was convicted of conspiring to distribute a controlled substance.

Cochran was found guilty of six counts in total, including assaulting one county employee, illegally searching the cell phone of another, and tampering with a witness. Two other women have since claimed that Cochran violated their civil rights, with one alleging that he groped her multiple times and another reporting that he snooped through her cell phone, but charges have not been filed in either incident. His sentencing is scheduled for February.

Last October, a California lawyer was sentenced to six months in jail and lost his law license after pleading guilty to felony false imprisonment. Kent Easter conspired with his wife Jill to plant Vicodin, Percocet, marijuana and a pipe in the car of local PTA president Kelli Peters, which stemmed over what he perceived as mistreatment towards his son.

Although she was questioned and detained, Peters was never arrested or charged with a crime. Jill pleaded guilty last year to the same charge as her husband and was sentenced to four months in jail.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.