Justices move to further discipline ex-Hamilton County judge

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A Hamilton County magistrate judge who was removed from the bench after he was convicted of meth possession resulting from a law enforcement sting operation faces additional discipline for an alleged violation of his professional probation.

The Indiana Supreme Court on Friday issued an order to show cause giving former Hamilton County magistrate judge William Paul Greenaway 10 days to answer why he should not be suspended from the practice of law.

The order says the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications on Monday filed a notice of violation, request for suspension pending revocation and motion to revoke probation, though Friday’s order did not allege the conduct giving rise to the charged violation. The court’s order says Greenaway’s failure to timely reply would be considered an admission.

Greenaway was removed from the bench in December and allowed to conditionally continue practicing law after serving a 90-day suspension. That order permanently banned Greenaway from judicial service and suspended him from the practice of law for one year, beginning Jan. 15, 2021, with the first 90 days served and the balance “conditionally stayed subject to successful completion of at least two (2) years of probation. If, after 90 days of active suspension, Respondent has fully complied with all the terms of his probation to date, his license shall be automatically reinstated, and he shall continue with the terms of his probation.”

His probation terms included complying with treatment as determined and monitored by the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program and committing no violation of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct during his probation.

Greenaway pleaded guilty in September to misdemeanor charges of possession of methamphetamine and obstruction of justice, both of which had been charged as Level 6 felonies when Greenaway was arrested in March 2019.

The Supreme Court immediately suspended Greenaway after his arrest and the county’s judges immediately suspended him.

According to a probable cause affidavit, after Greenaway bought about $140 worth of meth from a confidential informant in November 2018, Indiana State Police and Noblesville police moved on his vehicle after the arranged buy at a Goodwill parking lot in Noblesville.

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.”

The judicial discipline case is In the Matter of: William Paul Greenaway, 19S-JD-165.

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