I’m about to lose my Chief Assistant District Attorney.
At the end of August, Randy Coggin will retire.
If you know Randy, you understand what a blow that will be to me.
Sure, Randy has his faults. For one thing, he’s an Auburn fan. He clutters his office with tacky War Eagle items and wears orange and blue shirts. I haven’t confirmed this, but the rumor is that he has one of those striped tiger tails streaming from the back of his car trunk.
At the moment, I’m having trouble remembering all of those other faults. Too many of his attributes keep flooding my mind.
Like the type of person he is. Randy is a dedicated Methodist and is quite faithful to the church. His church sponsors a Boy Scout troop and, of course, Randy goes on just about every camping trip they take. Apparently, he makes a fruit cobbler with camping gear that the boys love.
To give you an idea about how seriously he takes his leadership role with Scouts, he has a leader’s outfit. With shorts. And knee socks. One of our former prosecutors—a lady—once mimicked that outfit at Halloween.
To his wife’s horror, he recently bought a Boy Scout kilt. And wears it!
Randy is a career prosecutor. He dabbled along the way with other pursuits—a brief stint with a local law firm, a period as an administrative judge, and for a few months he hung out his shingle in a solo law practice. But, he always drifted back to prosecution.
Randy served under at least six District Attorneys. There may have been more—nobody who knows for sure is still alive.
And what a prosecutor he has been! In all seriousness, Randy is a force in the courtroom. I’ve seen him boil an entire witness examination down to six power-packed questions. He will ask those six questions—bam,bam,bam,bam,bam,bam—and sit down. Just like that, he’s won his case.
I’ve been practicing law for 30 years. I have never seen a lawyer who can read a case file and recognize every strength and flaw of the case instantly like Randy can. He will read a police report alleging forgery and instantly know that the case should be indicted as a theft so that a key witness from New York won’t have to be brought to Georgia. He can see that an issue with a search may render evidence inadmissible at court and, within seconds, avoid the problem entirely by adopting a different strategy. And when a case will never result in a win for the prosecution, he doesn’t let it clog up the dockets. Instead, he bites the bullet and does the right thing.
If I am blessed to practice law for another 30 years, I doubt I will ever find anybody quite like Randy Coggin.
The citizens of Fayette, Spalding, Pike and Upson Counties are about to lose a giant. God knows, I’ll sure miss him!
And if he calls me on the cell phone I’ll even welcome that Auburn fight song ring tone!
On behalf of the crime victims you have helped, the police officers you’ve battled for, and all of the citizens you’ve made proud by your efforts, Randy, I have just two words.