Skip to main content
Press Release

Defendant Sentenced For Planting Drugs On Woman’s Car

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ROME, Ga. – Clifford J. Joyce has been sentenced to one year and six months in prison for framing a Murray County citizen for drug possession.
“By planting drugs on an innocent woman’s car, Mr. Joyce attempted to use the criminal justice system to serve his own personal agenda,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “In the end, however, it is Mr. Joyce, and not the Murray County woman, who will be headed to prison.”

Ricky Maxwell, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Mr. Joyce’s sentencing today serves to not only hold him accountable for his crime, but provides him time to reflect on this terrible deceptive act intended to harm another innocent individual.  The FBI will continue to work with its various local, state and other federal law enforcement partners to identify and investigate any allegations of criminal conduct involving or adversely impacting our criminal justice system.”

“Vindicating an innocent person is as important as convicting the guilty.  The GBI will continue to work with our federal law enforcement counterparts to ensure criminal cases are thoroughly investigated so the innocent remain free and the guilty are held accountable,” said Vernon Keenan, GBI Director. 

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court:  In July 2012, a Murray County citizen met with then-Chief Magistrate Judge Bryant Cochran regarding a legal matter.  She alleged that during the meeting, Cochran made inappropriate sexual advances towards her.

In an effort to discredit the citizen, Joyce and others participated in a scheme to frame her for drug possession. On or about August 12, 2012, Joyce hid a metal tin containing five packets of methamphetamine under the tire well of the citizen’s car. 

Two days later, on August 14, 2012, Murray County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Greeson (who has since been convicted of witness tampering for lying to law enforcement officers) conducted a traffic stop of the citizen’s car. During the traffic stop, Greeson searched the vehicle for drugs. Ultimately, after receiving information from Captain Michael Henderson (who has also been convicted of witness tampering), Greeson found the metal tin of methamphetamine under the tire well.  After locating the drugs, Greeson and Henderson arrested the citizen and the driver of the car on narcotics charges. On August 24, 2012, the District Attorney dismissed the charges against the citizen.

On June 14, 2013, Joyce, 27, of Dalton, Ga., pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Today, United States District Judge Harold L. Murphy sentenced Joyce to one year, six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and 100 hours of community service. 

This case was 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 V. Herskowitz prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at 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

Updated April 8, 2015