Former Deputy Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Obstructing a Civil Rights Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 12, 2013|
ROME, GA—Joshua L. Greeson pleaded guilty today to obstructing a pending public corruption and civil rights investigation by tampering with a witness while employed as a deputy with the Murray County Sheriff’s Department.
“The criminal justice system is based on the premise that police officers must be honest and truthful above all,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Mr. Greeson wasn’t and such conduct cannot stand. This investigation is continuing and we will follow the evidence wherever it leads.”
“Such conduct as described in this case cannot be tolerated, and the FBI will continue to identify, investigate, and bring forward for prosecution those officers who betray the public’s trust,” said Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office
“Those who are entrusted with upholding and enforcing the law must have honesty and integrity,” said GBI Director Vernon M. Keenan. “The GBI will continue to work with our federal law enforcement counterparts to insure those in a position of trust are held accountable.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court, in August 2012, Greeson, was employed with the Murray County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. On August 14, 2012, he conducted a traffic stop of a white Dodge vehicle. During the traffic stop, Greeson found methamphetamine in a metal can hidden under the tire well of the car. After locating the drugs, Greeson arrested the driver and the owner of the vehicle—who at the time was the front seat passenger.
On August 15, 2012, Greeson met with a state court judge to obtain a search warrant for the urine of the owner of the white Dodge vehicle. During the meeting, Greeson stated to the judge, in sum and substance, that he had not received any prior information about the white Dodge vehicle prior to stopping it.
Shortly thereafter, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) received information that the drugs had been planted on the vehicle by another individual in an attempt to falsely inculpate the owner of the white Dodge. As a result of that information, the local district attorney’s office dismissed the charges against the owner of the white Dodge.
GBI agents interviewed Greeson on August 23, 2012 in connection with an investigation of public corruption and civil rights violations. During the interview, Greeson again falsely stated to the GBI agents that he had not received any information about the white Dodge car before he pulled it over.
Greeson met with the GBI for a second interview on August 27, 2012. During this meeting, Greeson admitted to the GBI that he had lied—admitted that prior to stopping the white Dodge he had, in fact, been provided with information that the vehicle was supposed to be carrying drugs.
On August 29, 2012, Greeson was terminated from the Murray County Sheriff’s Office.
Greeson, 26, of Murray County, Georgia, could receive a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. However, 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.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 28, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. before United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy.
This case is being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey W. Davis and Michael Herskowitz are prosecuting the case.