Hamilton County magistrate judge suspended after arrest in meth sting

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

A Hamilton County magistrate judge has been suspended by the Indiana Supreme Court as he faces a felony methamphetamine possession charge and other counts after he allegedly bought meth from a police informant. The judicial officer also is accused of biting the thumb of an officer who tried to pry the bag of meth from the magistrate judge’s mouth.

Hamilton County Magistrate Judge Will Greenaway was also charged Monday with Level 6 felony counts of resisting law enforcement and obstruction of justice stemming from his arrest. The Indiana Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday suspending Greenaway with pay effective immediately.

A probable cause affidavit says that when police approached Greenaway’s SUV Wednesday in Noblesville, the magistrate judge swallowed the bag of meth he had bought. An officer tried to pry the bag out of Greenway’s mouth and was bitten on the thumb. Greenaway is accused of buying 2.4 grams of meth for $140 from an Indiana State Police informant.

According to the affidavit, ISP officers and Noblesville police last November heard from a confidential informant who claimed to have witnessed Greenaway, who was going through a divorce at the time, using meth with his girlfriend. Investigators believed the information was reliable, and after multiple interviews with the informant, they set up a sting that took place Wednesday.

The affidavit says Greenaway parked about a block away from a residence where he met the CI and walked through an alley to the house. He asked the CI, “How much can you get us?” before counting out $140. Greenaway and the CI agreed to meet later in the parking lot of a Noblesville Goodwill store, where the CI delivered the meth to Greenaway in his vehicle.

A plain-clothes detective watching nearby exited his car and began to walk toward Greenaway, and uniformed officers in unmarked cars pulled in behind Greenaway’s vehicle after the handoff. As a state police officer identified himself and yelled for Greenaway to put his hands up, he “witnessed Greenaway place a plastic baggie that (an ISP detective) recognized and knew was methamphetamine in his mouth,” the affidavit says. 

The detective “pushed his right thumb into Greenaway’s mouth trying to pry it open. This technique worked for a short time, until Greenaway used his teeth to bite down hard” onto the detective’s thumb, forcing him to remove it “to prevent further injury to his thumb. Suddenly, Greenaway opened his mouth and began to comply,” having swallowed the baggie.

After he was transported to Riverview Hospital, the affidavit says Greenaway told an ISP sergeant, “I have been set up.” Asked why he swallowed the package, the affidavit says Greenaway told investigators, “I panicked. I knew what it was and the guy said ‘State Police,’ and I said what the f— do I do and I swallowed the damn stuff so whatever it was, it’s in me now.”  

Hamilton County court administrator Orval Schierholz said Monday the county’s judges have indefinitely suspended Greenaway.

The Supreme Court suspension order was handed down one day after Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham II filed a notice of criminal charges and request for suspension with the Judicial Qualifications Commission. The court cited Indiana Admission and Discipline Rule 25(V)(A), which provides that judicial officers be suspended with pay upon filing of information of a crime punishable as a felony.

The court said in a statement that Greenaway’s interim suspension remains in effect until further order of the court or final determination of any disciplinary proceedings, if any, that may arise from the criminal charges.

The seven-member Commission on Judicial Qualifications investigates alleged ethical misconduct by judges and is chaired by Chief Justice Loretta Rush. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over judicial discipline.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Greenaway. He has no published home telephone number and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Special prosecutor Mark McCann of Howard County has been appointed to oversee the criminal prosecution in Hamilton County. Hamilton Superior Judge David Najjar has recused himself from the case, online court records show.

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