Homeless man charged with felony drug possession

Marlo Pronovost
SCN Editor

A homeless man with a lengthy criminal history remains jailed this week following his arrest in Park City on felony drug charges.

Joseph Leroy Greenfield, 55, appeared in handcuffs and jail clothing last Thursday in 22nd Judicial District Court and pleaded not guilty to one felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and misdemeanor counts of criminal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Citing a lengthy criminal history that includes burglary, theft and at least one parole violation, Stillwater County Attorney Nancy Rohde asked that the $50,000 bail amount previously set remain in place. Rohde also said child pornography was found in Greenfield’s vehicle.

Defense attorney Greg Paskell asked for an recognizance release, saying his client suffers from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a heart condition and has been unable to get the medical attention he requires at the Yellowstone County Detention Facility.

Rohde countered that claim, saying she had spoken with the YCDF nurse who reported said Greenfield had not requested heart or Parkinson’s medications. The nurse also told Rohde that since being in jail, Greenfield was doing better because he was taking medication regularily. Rohde also noted that Greenfield had been arrested in possession of a Budget van, occupied by a transient, and was selling cocaine in the Park City area.

Jones lowered bail to $25,000 and said it might be better for Greenfield to remain in jail where he could get his medication. If he is able to post bond, Greenfield will be required to wear a drug patch, to which Paskell said the state would have to pay for because his homeless client could not.

Jones noted “I don’t see many homeless people in that situation,” referring to Greenfield being in possession of the Budget van which he is renting.

Greenfield was allowed to speak directly to Jones, telling him the jail was wrong because he isn’t getting all of his medications and he also claimed to have a key to a state building in Billings.

“I’m not trying to be rude here but come on,” Greenfield said.

Jones stopped him at that point and told both attorneys he would consider some kind of house arrest, but that would have to be worked out between the parties and then brought back before him.


The case

According to court documents, Stillwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Cole Waltner was called to Park City at 8:30 p.m. when a man reported that Greenfield had tried to sell him cocaine. The deputy, along with Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Palen, located a Budget van in which Greenfield was staying in the parking lot of the ZipTrip. Located in the van upon the officers arrived was a transient who said Greenfield had hired him a few days prior to do some work, according to court documents. The transient said he knew nothing of Greenfield’s alleged attempted drug sale.

While talking to the transient, Deputy Waltner saw a red bracelet in plain view on the floor of the truck. The bracelet looked to have a pipe woven into it, which is commonly used to smoke marijuana, according to court documents. The transient allowed officers to search his backpack, which turned up nothing of note.

Trooper Palen then noticed Greenfield standing in a corner of the parking lot. The officers told Greenfield they were investigating a report of someone matching his description trying to sell cocaine. During this time, Greenfield’s behavior was erratic, and he would become angry and yell at law enforcement and then calm down. Greenfield said he had the truck because he was moving from Denver to Missoula, but officers noticed there were few personal belongings in the van.

Greenfield admitted the red bracelet was for smoking marijuana and that it belonged to him, according to court documents. Greenfield denied a request for law enforcement to search the van, but later consented and said there was a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle. When the vehicle door was open, officers could smell marijuana.

When Deputy Waltner picked up a bag inside the van, Greenfield “yelled to stop the search,” according to court documents.

A K9 team was called to the scene and a search warrant was obtained and the Budget van was towed to Columbus. Because the Stillwater County K9 team was out of the area, a Billings Police K9 team responded and the dog alerted on the front passenger door and the door seams.

Found hidden inside of an umbrella were two unused syringes, a metal pipe with marijuana, .6 grams of methamphetamine,1.1 grams of marijuana, a methamphetamine pipe, spoons, cotton needles and multiple needles, according to court documents.


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