It is difficult to believe Johnston's family agreed to pay Hutchins hundreds of thousands of dollars for conducting a few press conferences, and he has no proof whatsoever of any contract with Kathryn Johnston's family. Hutchins claims he made "verbal agreement" with Sarah Dozier. He said he felt it would show "poor taste" to ask for the grieving family to sign a contract for payment for his services. If Hutchins was really concerned about poor taste, he certainly would not sue a family for half a million dollars in exchange for doing something the family apparently thought he did as a ministerial service.
“Our client, Sarah Dozier, also denies having any agreement or arrangement to pay you any monies received for the wrongful death of Kathryn Johnston,” Hezekiah Sistrunk wrote. “It was always the understanding of Mrs. Dozier, as well as the Cochran firm, that [Markel Hutchins was] voluntarily involved in the Kathryn Johnston case as a Minster and Community Activist in the pursuit of justice. It now appears from your letters that your efforts were done not for the interest of the community at large but for your own personal gain.”
Obviously, The Cochran Firm wants the exclusive privilege of defrauding Sarah Dozier and will not tolerate Rev. Hutchins infringing on its territory.
Rev. Hutchins filed suit against the estate in Georgia Superior Court but it was dismissed. He appealed, and the Appellate Court's decision is at this link:
On Sistrunk's bad legal advice, Sarah Dozier signed a statement saying there were no outstanding claims against the estate although she had received Rev. Hutchins' bill. The Appellate Court found Dozier's statement fraudulent, making the lower court's decision void. The Appellate Court judges wrote, "We vacate the probate court's order discharging the administrator and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion."
OCGA § 53-7-53 provides that "[a] discharge obtained by the personal representative by means of any fraud is void and may be set aside on motion and proof of fraud."
On appeal, Dozier acknowledges that Hutchins sent the letter alleging a claim against the Estate, but states that Dozier's counsel [Hezekiah Sistrunk, of The Cochran Firm frauds] "informed [Hutchins] that any 'claim' for service was meritless against any person involved in the [l]itigation." Dozier's counsel's assertion that the claim was without merit does not, however, relieve her of her statutory duty to list Hutchins as a creditor with a disputed claim and provide him with notice of her petition for discharge.
Anyone who relies on The Cochran Firm as estate lawyers should seek a real attorney to avoid the mess that Dozier is in today for following Hezekiah Sistrunk's advice. Hopefully, Hutchins' lawsuit will be dismissed on the grounds that he cannot prove having any contract with Dozier. However, it was wrong for Dozier to follow Sistrunk's advice and not admit that she had received a bill from Hutchins, regardless of how fraudulent his bill may have been.
Court decisions that were given as a result of FRAUD are void, not merely voidable. Dismissal of the Neal's lawsuits against The (Johnnie) Cochran Firm by Georgia Superior Court and by United States District Court in Georgia are both void, also, because of The Cochran Firm's perjury. The Cochran Firm claimed falsely that it has no law offices operating within the State of Georgia or the City of Memphis and that the Atlanta office of Cochran Cherry Givens Smith and Sistrunk had no connection whatsoever with the Memphis office of The Cochran Firm - plus a myriad of other obvious lies that the courts accepted as facts. Even the name The Cochran Firm used to answer the Neals' lawsuit was a lie. The defendants answered under "Cochran Cherry Givens Smith & Sistrunk, LLC" when no such entity had ever been registered with the Georgia Secretary of State's office. "LLC" means "limited liability corporation," and all corporations must be registered with the Secretary of State's office.
The Appeals Court decision in Hutchins v. Dozier said:
"On April 20, 2011, Reverend Markel Hutchins, a non-lawyer, sent a letter to Dozier and her attorney, detailing "consulting and other professional services," which he alleged he provided to the Estate, "that made the significant settlement in [the case against the City] possible"; Hutchins included an invoice addressed to the Estate, seeking either $490,000 (ten percent of the settlement amount) or amounts ranging from $333,000 to $382,500 for the value of his services, plus $75,000 in out-of-pocket expenses."
Mary Neal, not Hutchins, "made the significant settlement possible" by threatening to get students from the Atlanta University Center to protest The Cochran Firm's fraud against Dozier and other relatives of Kathryn Johnston. Johnston's family might not have gotten a red cent if not for my advocacy for justice, and I charge zero for caring about the old lady and her family. I threatened to get students to protest the fraud against Johnston's family because no settlement was made regarding her wrongful death by mid-August 2010 although she died November 21, 2006, and three police officers were tried and sentenced for her murder. According to clerks at Georgia State Court, no lawsuit was really filed in the Kathryn Johnston death as of the date of August 18, 2010, but a "settlement" was hurriedly worked out the weekend before college students returned to school at the AU Center.
It is interesting that Hutchins believes speaking on the family's behalf at press conferences had anything whatsoever to do with the settlement Kathryn Johnston's family received for the elder suffering a home invasion by police during which time she was shot in a hail of 39 bullets, with six hitting her. How can Hutchins take credit for a settlement that came after Johnston was handcuffed as she lay dying on her floor while police hid drugs in her home to make it appear the elder was running a drug house? Hutchins' advocacy was not needed to draw attention to Johnston's murder. People all over the world read about it and the attempted cover-up police officers tried by coercing a police informant to lie. Millions of people saw videos of candlelight vigils and the town hall meetings held after Johnston's death. Neither were Hutchins' press conferences necessary to enrage potential jurors about Johnston's murder. In fact, The Cochran Firm kept the lawsuit away from a jury precisely because any jury assembled in Atlanta at the time would have awarded Johnston's family the entire $18 million that The Cochran Firm claims it demanded in the lawsuit that was apparently never properly filed (according to State Court records I examined with court clerks on August 18, 2010).
I hope to speak with Sarah Dozier or other relatives of Kathryn Johnston and show them irrefutable proof that they were defrauded by The Cochran Firm. They should sue Hezekiah Sistrunk, et al., for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and malpractice. The Cochran Firm is sued for fraud by its former clients and its own attorneys with regularity. See a list of recent lawsuits against The Cochran Firm at "Catalano & Plache: The Cochran Firm Fraud"
Before suing the slain elder's estate for $500,000 for making a few public appearances, Markel Hutchins was accused of breaking and entering the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) headquarters in 2010 and removing equipment that did not belong to him (what is the word for that?).
Some SCLC board members may seek criminal charges for alleged break-in
The Rev. Markel Hutchins said Wednesday he will not seek criminal charges against those who removed padlocks from gates at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters. But those on the other side of the fight for control of the SCLC said Wednesday they are still considering bringing criminal trespass charges against Hutchins for welding shut the headquarters' back door and for chaining and padlocking three gates to a rear parking lot. Hutchins – an ally of ousted SCLC chairman Raleigh Trammell and former treasurer Spiver Gordon – said a faction of the organization’s board named him interim president, chief executive officer and chief financial officer, and he was authorized to be in the building and was responsible for its security. LaFayette and other board members say Hutchins doesn’t have a key.
“He admitted that he went into the office and he was unauthorized,” LaFayette said. “He disabled the fire alarm, the water and the electricity. He got a welder to weld up the back door. He took files from the office. I understand now he took one of those [computer] monitors. His behavior is described as breaking and entering . . . He went in the back door,” LaFayette continued. “He didn’t go through the front door. He does not have a key because he’s not authorized."
See the entire story about this peculiar minister's alleged illegal entry at SCLC at this link http://www.ajc.com/news/news/local/some-sclc-board-members-may-seek-criminal-charges-/nQgBY/
SOMEBODY burglarized my home on August 11, 2012 and stole only two boxes of my original court documents and evidence regarding my family's two lawsuits against The Cochran Firm. I do not think lawyers and preachers ought to be involved in burglaries. Neither should police and county officials be allowed to submit perjury in federal records to cover up the secret arrest and murder of a mentally ill heart patient, Larry Neal http://WrongfulDeathofLarryNeal.com . Courts should not accept perjury to prevent lawsuits against lawyers who defraud families after wrongful deaths by police, which is a Cochran Firm specialty. Approximately 1.25 million mentally ill people are incarcerated in America, and a recent study showed there are between 5,000 and 10,000 wrongful convictions every year. The wrong people are in jail.
Rev. Markel Hutchins tried politics, human rights advocacy, and he allegedly tried burglarizing the SCLC. The man has tenacity, and now he is going after Kathryn Johnston's family.