In The News

  • 09 Dec
    Legal Talk: The Bill of Rights

    Legal Talk: The Bill of Rights

    Joe Lane discusses how the Bill of Rights were adopted

    Attorney Joe Lane with The Cochran Firm Dothan talks about the Bill of Rights. Constitutional rights were a big topic of the 2016 election. The Bill of Rights were not part of the Constitution when it was drafted in 1787. It took two years before the Bill of Rights became the first ten amendments to the Constitution on December 15, 1791.

    By cochrandothan In The News Sound Off
  • 18 Nov
    Legal Talk: Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    Legal Talk: Uninsured Motorist Coverage

    John Givens talks about the importance of uninsured motorist coverage

    Dothan attorney discusses the importance of having UM insurance or uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance protects you against those drivers who don’t have insurance or don’t have enough to cover damages if you are involved in a car wreck.

  • 28 Oct
    Legal Talk: Family Medical Leave Act

    Legal Talk: Family Medical Leave Act

    Angela Mason discussed the Family Medical Leave Act

    Dothan personal injury attorney Angela Mason talks about the Family Medical Leave Act and paid time off when you are sick or have a baby. The Family Medical Leave Act is a federal statute that attempts to balance your work life with family obligations. If you are employed with a company that has 50 or more employees, you are entitled to 12 weeks of family medical leave if you or a family member is sick or if you have a new baby. You must be employed at least 12 months to be eligible for this benefit.

  • 13 Oct
    Legal Talk: Choosing Your Attorney

    Legal Talk: Choosing Your Attorney

    Keith Givens – Legal Talk
    Steps for choosing your attorney

    Dothan attorney Keith Givens discusses the importance of choosing the right lawyer. Different legal needs may require a lawyer who practices a specific type of law. It is important to research, meet, and interview the lawyer you may want to hire.

  • 13 Oct
    Legal Talk: Alabama Death Penalty

    Legal Talk: Alabama Death Penalty

    Legal Talk: Alabama’s Death Penalty
    Jessica Givens discusses the death penalty in Alabama

    Jessica Givens with The Cochran Firm Dothan talks about Alabama’s death penalty and the role a jury plays in sentencing phase of a case. In Alabama, a judge can unilaterally disagree with the jury’s recommendation to send someone to prison.

  • 21 Sep
    Legal Talk: Larry Givens Talks Workers’ Comp

    Legal Talk: Larry Givens Talks Workers’ Comp

    Larry Givens Discusses Workers’ Compensation on Legal Talk

    Larry Givens with The Cochran Firm Dothan talks about things you should know in case you are injured on the job. Legal Talk airs every Tuesday on WTVY News 4 This Morning and is brought to you by WTVY-TV and The Cochran Firm. The most important thing to remember if you are injured on the job is to give notice to your employer. If you have any workers’ compensation questions, call The Cochran Firm attorneys at 334-673-1555.

  • 09 Sep
    Legal Talk with The Cochran Firm

    Legal Talk with The Cochran Firm

    Watch Legal Talk on WTVY’s News 4 This Morning every Tuesday morning. Attorneys with The Cochran Firm Dothan discuss information on a variety of legal topics. Be sure to watch every Tuesday morning.

    By cochrandothan In The News Sound Off
  • 23 Aug
    Alabama’s Capital Sentencing Statute: The Unraveling of The Alabama Death Penalty – Part 3

    Alabama’s Capital Sentencing Statute: The Unraveling of The Alabama Death Penalty – Part 3

    The Unraveling of the Alabama Death Penalty:
    Alabama’s Capital Sentencing Statute, Part 3 in a Series

    Alabama Death Penalty“A Jefferson County judge Thursday morning ruled that Alabama’s capital murder sentencing scheme, which allows judges to override jury recommendations of life without parole and instead impose the death penalty, is unconstitutional.” AL.com, Mar 3, 2016
    http://www.al.com/news

    The Deep South has a nickname in America’s legal community:  the Death Belt.

    Alabama, in particular, is known for:

    • executing more people per capita than any other state;
    • having the lowest quality criminal defense system in the U.S., according to the ABA;
    • being the last state in the country to let a judge change a jury sentence recommendation from life imprisonment to death

    SCOTUS ruled on January12 in Hurst v. Florida that the Florida’s death penalty procedures were unconstitutional according to the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees a defendant a trial by jury.  A major factor in the court’s decision was the issue of judicial override.

    A jury, the Court said, must find each fact necessary to impose a death sentence – not a judge.  Governor Rick Scott signed into law a new statute that does not allow a judge to overrule the jury’s recommendation of life in prison; the judge can, however, overrule a death recommendation to life in prison.

    So how does the former Florida statute, struck down by SCOTUS, compare to the one now in use by Alabama?

    In 1995, SCOTUS included the following statement in the majority opinion of Harris v. Alabama:

    “[The Alabama Criminal Court of Appeals] noted that Alabama’s death penalty statute is based on Florida’s sentencing scheme, which we have held to be constitutional ….”

    Hurst v. Florida put to rest that reasoning.  Following the SCOTUS opinion in January, Alabama Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd struck down the state’s death penalty as a possible sentence in four upcoming capital murder cases.  State Attorney General Luther Strange is pursuing the case through appellate courts where, most recently, the Alabama Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Todd’s decision.  The appeals court ruled that Alabama’s death penalty was, indeed, constitutional and ordered that capital punishment should be allowed for consideration as a sentence during the defendants’ trials.

    The Alabama Attorney General’s office says the crucial point is this:  Florida’s former statute allowed a judge to find aggravating factors in a case to allow capital punishment.  Alabama’s statute requires the jury to find at least one such aggravating factor in a capital case, even if the jury rejects the death penalty as a sentence.

    Critics rebut this assertion by saying that judicial override is just that: overriding a jury of a defendant’s peers to impose a greater punishment than the jury itself deemed justified.

    In the meantime, the Alabama Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals reversal is being appealed by defense attorneys to the Alabama Supreme Court.

    Legal experts agree that for SCOTUS to return three cases in five weeks for Alabama appellate court reconsideration is a strong sign that they are uncomfortable with current Alabama law.  But the state legislature has failed to address the issue of judicial override in capital punishment and, regardless of Hurst v Florida, it is doubtful they will act without direct SCOTUS intervention.

    An Alabama native proved to be an unlikely advocate for review of his state’s laws on capital punishment.

    For over 45 years, Major Watt Espy, Jr., of Headland, Alabama, researched and tracked every execution that had been carried out in the United States since 1608 through his death in 2009.

    In a New York Times article, he was referred to as “America’s foremost death penalty historian.”

    When he began his research, at home in Headland, in the early 70s, Mr. Espy was in favor of the death penalty.  Years later, as he saw the descendants of men and women who had been executed commit the same crimes, not to mention the people that have been set free by The Innocence Project, he changed his mind.

    “It’s terrifying to consider that society generally has no greater sense of humanity than its basest citizens -the murderers,’” he said.  Espy died at age 76 on August 13, 2009.

    As of the date of the NY Times article, October 21, 1987, 1,901 people were waiting on death row, and at the rate of one execution a day, it would take six years to carry out the sentences, he said.

    “It’s crazy,” he said at the time, “and if any other country did that, we’d call it a human rights violation.”

  • 19 Aug
    Wiregrass Association for Justice CLE Seminar

    Wiregrass Association for Justice CLE Seminar

    Legal Seminar Set for September 8

    The Wiregrass Association for Justice, in association with The Alabama Association for Justice, will host a one day seminar for area attorneys on SeptemberWiregrass Association For Justice CLE Seminar 8, 2016 at The Grand on Foster in downtown Dothan, Alabama. This CLE seminar is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and is open to members of ALAJ, as well as non-members.

    The program will focus on Practical Tips to Grow Your Practice with information designed for experienced lawyers, as well as new professionals. Those attending will hear keynote speakers address disruptive technology in the practice of law, cybersecurity and its role in protecting your practice, social media’s impact on trial publicity, and legislative and judicial developments affecting the practice of law.

    Attendees will have two opportunities to network with professional peers. Lunch will be provided onsite by KBC Butcher Block, and a reception will follow the seminar with a drawing for a Yeti Cooler door prize. Sponsors for the seminar are The Alabama Association for Justice, Freedom Reporting, Synergy Settlement Services, RealTime IT Services, The Cochran Firm, and Farmer, Price, Hornsby & Weatherford, LLP.

    This event is limited to 50 attendees. To register for the CLE seminar, visit the CLE Calendar at www.AlabamaJustice.org.

  • 15 Aug
    Angela Mason Selected to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee

    Angela Mason Selected to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee

    Angela Mason Selected to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee: Just For Men Mass Tort Litigation

    Angela Mason personal injury lawyerAngela Mason, attorney with The Cochran Firm – Dothan office, has been selected to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Just For Men mass tort litigation consolidated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

    Just For Men is a popular gray-hair dye in use for 25 years. In January 2016, a lawsuit was filed against Just for Men hair dye maker Combe, Inc., and other Combe companies, for distributing a dangerous product without adequately warning consumers of the dye’s ingredients and the potential side effects of those ingredients, such as chemical burns, severe allergic reactions, and permanent scarring.

    On July 11, 2016, U.S. District Judge David R. Herndon announced his appointment of Ms. Mason who has worked on many mass tort teams and multidistrict litigation (MDL). The Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) will be responsible for the effective and efficient representation of the common interests of all MDL plaintiffs. The PSC will initiate, coordinate, and conduct all pretrial discovery, retain expert witnesses, and submit and argue all verbal or written motions presented to the Court on behalf of all Plaintiffs. Ultimately, the PSC can enter into a global settlement on behalf of all the cases filed in the MDL.

    Practicing since 1996, Ms. Mason serves on the Board of Directors and marketing committee for The Cochran Firm. Her practice focuses primarily on pursuing claims for people who have been injured or treated unfairly by negligent and irresponsible corporations. Most recently, she has litigated against pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers who distributed dangerous products in the marketplace, large corporations who denied their employees fair wages, and large corporations who have contaminated people and their properties with dangerous substances.

    Ms. Mason has been recognized by national organizations for her work as a trial lawyer. In December 2015, Ms. Mason was elected into The RoundTable: America’s 100 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by The Trial Lawyer magazine. She has been honored as one of The Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Alabama for the last six years by The National Trial Lawyers. During that time, she has also served on the Editorial Boards for The National Trial Lawyers and The Trial Lawyer magazine.

    Ms. Mason is a member of the Alabama Justice Association where she is also a member of the Women’s Caucus for the AJA.  She sits on the Executive Committee for the Mass Tort Trial Lawyers Association, as well as the Board of Directors for her local bar association in Houston County, Alabama. Ms. Mason has also served on the Editorial Board for the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association and the grievance committee for the Houston County Bar Association, where she investigated complaints by clients against their lawyers.

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