Across Georgia

Judge’s warrants examined by GBI


CHATSWORTH — The district attorney in Murray County says the Georgia Bur­eau of Investigation has launched an investigation into a judge over allegations that he pre-signed arrest warrants.

District Attorney Bert Poston said Friday that he asked the GBI to investigate after meeting with an investigator from the state Judicial Qualifications Commission.

Bryant Cochran resigned Wednesday as the county’s chief Magistrate Court judge. He issued a statement accepting responsibility for the pre-signed warrants that were left for officers to fill out when he was not around.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan said the allegation was serious and “strikes at the heart of the criminal justice system.”

Also, a woman has accused Cochran of propositioning her in his office. Cochran has denied her claims.

Church gets stake in Mitchell’s saga

ATLANTA — A relative of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell is giving the Archdiocese of Atlanta some literary rights to the best-selling book.

The gift includes a 50 percent stake in the trademark and literary rights to the book and personal items of its author.

The bequest was made by Joseph Mitchell, nephew of the late author. Joseph Mitchell, who died in Octo­ber, was a longtime member of the Cathedral of Christ the King.

“This is a huge windfall for the Catholic Church,” said Pamela Roberts, an executive producer at Georgia Public Broadcasting and the producer of an award-winning documentary on Margaret Mitchell. “These people are so lucky.”

Steve Swope, a deacon
in the archdiocese who is overseeing the gift, says royalties could be in the “hundreds of thousands” of dollars annually from usage of the book just for productions including ballets and plays.

“We hope we can be good, solid stewards of this wonderful literary work,” Swope said.

The rest of the rights are held in trust for the family of Joseph Mitchell’s late brother, Eugene. The film rights were sold long ago.