A Dalton man who planted drugs in a woman’s car just days after she accused a Murray County judge of sexual misconduct was sentenced Friday to one year and six months in prison.
Clifford J. Joyce, along with two officials from the Murray County Sheriff’s Office, participated in a plan to frame and discredit Angela Garmley of Chatsworth in August 2012, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
That plan was concocted after Garmley said that former Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran made inappropriate sexual advances toward her during a July 2012 meeting to discuss a legal matter. Cochran, who resigned after an investigation, denied he propositioned Garmley.
Joyce, Cochran’s tenant and handyman, hid a metal tin containing five packets of methamphetamine under the tire well of the woman’s car on Aug. 12, 2012. Murray County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Greeson stopped the woman’s car and searched it for drugs two days later. After receiving information from Capt. Michael Henderson, Greeson found the packets of methamphetamine exactly where Joyce hid them.
He and Henderson arrested the woman on narcotics charges. Garmley’s lawyer said his client was set up, and a subsequent investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation resulted in Garmley being cleared of all charges. Henderson and Greeson were convicted of witness tampering for lying to law enforcement officers.
Joyce pleaded guilty in June 2013 to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
“By planting drugs on an innocent woman’s car, Mr. Joyce attempted to use the criminal justice system to serve his own personal agenda,” Yates said. “In the end, however, it is Mr. Joyce, and not the Murray County woman, who will be headed to prison.”
After prison, Joyce will be under three years of supervised release. Additionally, he must perform 100 hours of community service.