John Marshall proudly presents its Sixth Annual Bobby Lee Cook Practical Legal Symposium on Friday, March 28th, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. This event, which was established to honor Mr. Cook, Georgia’s renowned criminal defense and civil rights attorney, will feature prominent members of the legal community. A long-time friend of the Law School, Mr. Cook will lead the panel. Adam Malone, Alumni Association President and experienced personal injury litigator, will moderate. This year’s program will feature members of the judiciary who will share their experiences with future lawyers by providing unique perspectives from the bench. The panelists include: Judge James G. Bodiford; Judge Duncan D. Wheale; and Judge Kristina Cook Connelly.
Bobby Lee Cook, principal of Cook & Connelly in Summerville, GA, has earned fame for his career as a criminal defense attorney and representation in some of the most controversial criminal trials in the state. He is believed by many to have inspired the character of “Matlock” in the television series. Mr. Cook’s influence extends beyond Georgia, as he has also represented national and international figures. Early in his career, Mr. Cook served in the Georgia House of Representatives and Senate before becoming a State Court Judge. Mr. Cook’s achievements were recognized by the Georgia Bar in 1994, when it named him Trial Lawyer of the Year.
Judge James G. Bodiford has served as a Superior Court Judge for Cobb County since 1994, prior to which he served as Cobb County’s Chief Magistrate Judge (1985 – 1994). He is well known for conducting Georgia’s first drug court and eliminating a backlog by completing over 500 felony cases. He was the trial judge for the two month death penalty trial of ex-lawyer Fred Tokars and the month long murder trial of Lynn Turner, the anti-freeze murderer. Judge Bodiford also presided over and successfully completed the internationally covered Tri-State Crematory case. Most recently, he has been appointed to preside over the notorious Brian Nichols case in Fulton County.
Judge Duncan D. Wheale has served as a Superior Court Judge for the Augusta Judicial Circuit since 1999. In that time, he has become known for his strict yet compassionate approach in presiding over domestic cases involving divorce, child custody and child abuse. In 2001, in response to four cases involving allegations of serious child abuse, Judge Wheale held a public hearing for the local Department of Family and Children Services, and then assembled a volunteer task force to evaluate how to ensure protection of such children. After ten years of service, Judge Wheale plans to retire from the bench in January of next year.
Judge Kristina Cook Connelly has served as Walker County Superior Court Judge since her appointment by Governor Zell Miller in 1992. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Connelly practiced law with her father, Bobby Lee Cook, and husband, Branch Connelly.
This event is free and open to the public. We encourage law students, members of the bar, and interested parties to join us for this unique opportunity to benefit from the experience of three members of the judiciary and the “dean” of Georgia’s criminal defense attorneys.