Author: Robert E. Shepherd


Herbert G. Cochran (1885–1969)

Herbert G. Cochran served as judge of the Norfolk Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court (1925–1954) and helped establish the modern juvenile court system in Virginia. He held the controversial belief that the welfare of defendant juveniles was paramount and that incarceration contributed to recidivism. During his three decades on the bench he emphasized individual treatment of defendants and pioneered the use of family counseling and probation. Cochran, along with Richmond’s James Hoge Ricks and Roanoke’s Odessa Pittard Bailey, turned the focus of the courts to rehabilitating young offenders. His activism helped reform juvenile justice systems across the country, serving on national boards and helping craft Massachusetts’s laws.