Bobby Lee Cook

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Bobby Lee Cook
Born (1925-02-12) February 12, 1925 (age 94)
Alma materVanderbilt University Law School
OccupationDefense attorney

Bobby Lee Cook (born February 12, 1925)[1] is a defense attorney from Summerville, Georgia, in Chattooga County.[2][3] He has practiced law since the late 1940s, and is known for combining a sharp legal mind with a folksy demeanor. He has represented a wide variety of clients, from rural Southerners to international businessmen and corporations. He is reputed to have been the inspiration for the television series Matlock main character Ben Matlock, which starred Andy Griffith as a Georgia attorney.[4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Cook was born in 1925 in Lyerly, Georgia. He attended Vanderbilt University Law School in Nashville, Tennessee. He practices law in Summerville with the Cook & Connelly law firm.


Cook has been a defense attorney for over 65 years. He recalled a time of racial prejudice when African Americans were "required to sit in the balcony of old courtrooms". He describe it as "a most unusual, extraordinary time. It was a time when no women sat on juries, and certainly no blacks".[6]

Cook is estimated to have won 80% of his murder trials and has "estimated his annual net income at $1 million".[1]

Significant Cases[edit]

  • Represented Wayne Williams, who appealed his 1982 conviction for the murder of two black youths in what was known as the Atlanta Child Murders.
  • Represented Troy L. Griffith Jr., star running back for Trion High School, Trion, GA.
  • 1986—Defended Tennessee banker C.H. Butcher Jr., who faced 25 counts of fraud. Butcher was acquitted on all counts.[citation needed]
  • 1988—Represented former Auburn University All-American football star Bobby Hoppe, who was charged with murder in a 1957 shooting. Jurors deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal. The case was never retried.
  • 1989—Defended James Arthur "Jim" Williams during the first trial (of four) for the 1981 shooting death of Danny Hansford. The case was the inspiration for the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by author John Berendt, published in 1994. Williams was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in prison, although appealed, posting a $200,000 bond. Cook later received, anonymously, a copy of the police report showing the arresting office contradicted himself, and the judgement was overturned. A new trial was ordered.

Famous Quotes[edit]

"If you can railroad a bad man to prison, you can railroad a good man."[2]


  1. ^ a b Boltz, Peter (2011-09-01). "Bobby Lee Cook Legendary Defense Attorney" (PDF). Gordon College President's Report. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  2. ^ a b Curriden, Mark: "Bobby Lee Cook", ABA Journal. March, 2009. Accessed July 8, 2011.
  3. ^ Meyer, Richard E. (1986-07-30). "Famous and Plain Folks : Country Boy Loves Law, a Good Fight". latimes. Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  4. ^ MeTV Staff (2015-08-04). "9 things you might not know about 'Matlock'". Retrieved 2018-03-26.
  5. ^ Amy Petulla (8 August 2016). The Corpsewood Manor Murders of North Georgia. Arcadia Publishing Incorporated. pp. 111–. ISBN 978-1-62585-645-6.
  6. ^ Walker, Doug (6 March 2016). "Bobby Lee Cook discusses 66 years of legal changes at conference". Northwest Georgia News. Retrieved 2018-03-26.