William A. LaTorre, a Clearwater, Florida, chiropractor at the wheel of his 35-foot (11 m) cigarette boat on Memorial Day weekend in 1989, collided with a 17-foot (5 m) boat full of teenagers. Four teenagers were killed and several more injured. LaTorre was charged with four counts of vessel homicide. Cohen painted a picture in the media as an unavoidable tragic event for everyone concerned. He portrayed LaTorre's arrest as politically motivated, and managed press conferences with LaTorre's tearful wife. LaTorre was eventually acquitted of all four deaths.
In 1992, former Chief Judge Dennis Alverez of Hillsborough County hired Cohen to represent him in an FBI inquiry into his handling of a legal dispute over the disposition of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse's multi-million dollar estate.
In 1994, Cohen represented Sheriff Everett Rice and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office when it was threatened with a lawsuit by former U.S. Attorney Robert Merkle for damages stemming from a false arrest charge after Merkle was acquitted of battery in a traffic confrontation. The Pinellas County Commission voted to hire Cohen as a special counsel at Rice’s request.
In 2005, Barry Cohen represented Pinellas County Judge George Greer when Greer was threatened with impeachment for his decisions in the Terri Schiavo case.
Jennifer Porter hired Cohen before she announced she was the driver of the Toyota Echo involved in a hit and run accident that killed two children and put two in the hospital in March 2004. When she drove away after the collision with the four siblings, she retained retained Cohen before she stepped forward in a press conference along with press releases. She was charged with leaving the scene of an accident. She eventually pleaded guilty to a felony, but did not receive a prison sentence. Her sentence was reduced to two years house arrest through a judge's ruling engineered by Cohen. After she had completed all but six months of her sentence, Porter requested that her teaching certificate be restored. Cohen said her excellent character references plus the expert testimony provided through Cohen's efforts, explaining how she suffered psychological trauma, testimony that convinced the judge to give her house arrest, should also persuade the state panel to let Porter maintain her teaching certification.
In September 2007, Cohen was hired to represent Nick Bollea, son of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Bollea, age 17, was driving a yellow Toyota Supra at high speed when he lost control, according to police. His passenger was severely injured. "A lawyer can drop a client, just as a client can drop an attorney", Cohen is reported to have said, making a general statement when announcing his withdrawal from the case.
Read more about this topic: Barry Cohen (attorney)
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