Legal Ethics

Accused of Providing Blank Arrest Warrants to Police, Georgia Magistrate Resigns

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A county magistrate in North Georgia has resigned to put an end to an ethics investigation over his practice of distributing pre-signed, blank arrest warrants to local police.

Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran resigned just two weeks after he won a third term on the bench, according to the Fulton County Daily Report.

The legal publication reports that the pre-signed, undated warrants were made available to police when Cochran was not available to sign them.

Cochran has agreed never to seek or hold judicial office again, according to a consent order (PDF) published last week on the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission’s website.

In addition to the arrest warrant issue, the Daily Report notes that judicial ethics investigators had received complaints from at least one woman who maintained the judge sought sexual favors from her in return for a favorable ruling. A lawyer for the judge tells the Daily Report that the resignation has nothing to do with the sexual harassment allegations.

In a statement to the Daily Report, the judge said, “I accept full responsibility for the warrants that were pre-signed. This is SOLELY the reason for my resignation.”

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