Hill returns to federal court

By Justin Boron

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is scheduled to return to federal court in Atlanta this afternoon and defend recent accusations that he has renewed a campaign of retaliation against some employees.

Hill will go before U.S. District Court Judge Charles Moye in Atlanta to respond to a motion filed by the employees' attorney that alleges the sheriff admonished his clients unnecessarily and narrowed their authority in the face of Moye's order prohibiting retalitation. The employees, who were fired shortly after Hill took office in January, were reinstated last month as part of a judge's contempt order.

Harlan Miller, the reinstated employees attorney, also claims Hill took personal shots at him during private meetings with his clients.

In his motion based on his clients' accounts of conversations with the sheriff, Miller quotes Hill as saying, "Tell Harlan Miller to get his teeth fixed."

Hill has said the accounts of his conversations with the employees are innacurate.

Hill was found in contempt by Superior Court Judge Ben Miller in February.

The contempt stemmed from Hill's violation of a temporary restraining order that required him to return the employees to their original positions they held before Hill fired them Jan. 3.

In addition to drawing a discrimination suit, the firings, which Hill says are part of his right to restructure the Sheriff's Office, have segued into a broader question about sheriff employees coverage under the county's civil service program, which requires just cause for dismissal.

A Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments on the subject on March 24 in Jonesboro.