Former Murray County Sheriff's Deputy Indicted For Obstructing Civil Rights Investigation In Case Involving Magistrate

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A former Murray County Sheriff’s Deputy has been indicted by a federal grand jury for obstructing a pending civil rights investigation while he was still employed as a Sheriff’s Deputy with Murray County.  Joshua Lamar Greeson, 25, of Chatsworth, Ga., was to be arraigned Wednesday at 2 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson. The federal grand jury indicted Greeson on Thursday.

Deputy Greeson had made a traffic stop of Angie Garmley shortly after she had made accusations against Murray County Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran that led to his resignation.

Charges were later dismissed against Ms. Garmley.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “Greeson is charged with breaching the public trust by lying to agents and concealing information in order to obstruct a civil rights investigation.  Now, he faces his own federal charges and potential time in federal prison. Our office is continuing to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate this important matter.” 

Mark F. Giuliano, special agent in charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, said, “The conduct alleged in this indictment is a clear breach of the public trust by a law enforcement officer whom we rightfully hold to a higher standard.  Understanding the importance of this trust, the FBI remains committed to bringing forward for prosecution any such similar allegations of criminal conduct.”

“The Georgia Bureau of Investigation aggressively investigates alleged criminal activity by law enforcement officers. The state of Georgia will not tolerate criminal activity by those officials with the duty to enforce its laws,” said Vernon Keenan, GBI director.

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court, on Aug. 14, 2012, then Murray County Sheriff's Department Deputy Joshua Greeson performed a traffic stop on a vehicle in Murray County, Ga.  During the traffic stop, Greeson found methamphetamine in a metal can hidden under the driver's side rear wheel well of the vehicle. After locating the drugs, Greeson arrested both the front-seat passenger who owned the vehicle and the driver. Shortly thereafter, GBI agents received information that the drugs had been planted under the vehicle by another individual (not Greeson) in order to falsely inculpate the vehicle owner.

On Aug. 23, 2012, when GBI agents interviewed Greeson, he allegedly lied to them regarding information he had previously received concerning a lookout on this vehicle.  Agents later learned that Greeson had deleted information relevant to the investigation from his cell phone.   Greeson was fired from the Sheriff’s Department on Aug. 29, 2012. 

The charges each carry a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges.  The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at the trial.

This case is being investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Herskowitz, Jeffrey Davis, and Timothy Storino are prosecuting the case.

For further information, contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or 404 581-6016.  The internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.


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