published Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Ex-Murray County, Ga., deputy gets 10-month prison term

A year after a Murray County, Ga., deputy was fired for his part in a public corruption scheme, he has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy sentenced Joshua Greeson, 26, Wednesday for his guilty plea to a charge of obstructing a public corruption investigation. The case involves a former judge and another lawman.

Greeson was the deputy who pulled Angela Garmley over on Aug. 14, 2012, and arrested her on a drug charge.

Federal prosecutors said he later lied when he denied he had been asked to arrest her. Garmley previously had filed a sexual harassment complaint against former Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran.

Garmley's drug charge eventually was dropped, and state authorities announced an investigation into her arrest. Greeson and his supervisor, Capt. Michael Henderson, were fired from the sheriff's office for lying to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

In federal court Wednesday, Garmley read a statement saying Greeson was just a factor in a larger scheme.

"This has been an emotional, stressful embarrassment for over a year," she read. "We want justice for the man behind all of this. Greeson was the low man on the totem pole."

Cochran stepped down Aug. 15, 2012, a day after Garmley's arrest. The Judicial Qualifications Commission, the state's watchdog agency for judges, found Cochran had pre-signed warrants and had solicited Garmley for sex in his chambers in April. Cochran admitted he signed warrants but has denied asking for sex in exchange for granting Garmley's request for warrants against other people in a dispute.

So far Greeson; Henderson, who is Cochran's cousin; and Clifford "C.J." Joyce have been indicted. Cochran hasn't been charged. The U.S. attorney's office won't say whether Cochran will be charged.

Greeson, who cried outside the federal courthouse in Rome in January after pleading guilty to obstruction, claims he was duped into arresting Garmley.

But federal prosecutors tell a different story. They said Cochran shopped around for an officer to deliver a tip that Garmley was carrying drugs in her white Dodge. Five days later, Greeson conducted a traffic stop and found a metal can containing methamphetamine hidden under a tire well.

In an arrest report, Greeson said he pulled Garmley over because her bright lights were on.

Greeson went to court Aug. 15 to request a search warrant for a urine sample from Garmley. While there, he was asked if he had received any prior direction to stop the white Dodge. According the U.S. attorney's office, he lied and said no.

Greeson is the first person sentenced in the case. His attorney, Ed Marger, couldn't be reached Wednesday for comment.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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