Posted by William Nunnelley on 2002-07-09

Donald Cochran, one of the lead prosecutors in the recent 16th Street Baptist Church bombing trial, has joined Samford University's Cumberland School of Law as a trial advocacy professor.

Cochran, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham since 1998, was a leading member of the team that successfully prosecuted church bomber Bobby Frank Cherry in May. Cochran handled much of the courtroom prosecution in the case which received international attention, including a portion of the closing argument convicting Cherry.

Cumberland's Dean, John Carroll, said Cochran's hiring was the result of a nationwide search for the best possible trial advocacy professor and is part of Cumberland's continued emphasis on trial advocacy.

According to Judge Carroll, "Professor Cochran will be an outstanding addition to Cumberland's already nationally acclaimed trial advocacy program. Professor Cochran is a recognized expert in the use of technology in the courtroom and we are pleased that he will continue his exemplary legal career as a member of our faculty."

Cochran, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Law School, has taught previously as an adjunct professor at Cumberland and as trial advocacy instructor at the Department of Justice National Trial Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C.

The new Cumberland professor served as Deputy District Attorney in Birmingham during 1993-98. Immediately following graduation from law school, he was law clerk for Federal Judge Julie Carnes of the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta.

Cochran served in the 101st Airborne Division and Special Forces and the 82nd Airborne of the U.S. Army during 1980-89. He was a Detachment Commander specializing in high-altitude parachute operations and also commanded a 125-man infantry company of the 101st on a six-month peacekeeping mission in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt during part of this time.

As a law student, Cochran was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review and also won the Best Oral Advocate award in the Vanderbilt Moot Court Competition.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.