Judges, juries and trials are not perfect.
Nevertheless we have the best legal justice system in the world, and we have to believe in and abide by the system.
Once again, Victor Hill is on center stage and his trial is a bit of a media — and social — circus.
The courts have done all they can do to keep things under control and to keep the process untainted and unaffected by all of the attention it has drawn from both within and outside the county.
Hill’s supporters have every right to support him.
His detractors also have rights of free speech.
While we do not agree with allowing some pretrial motions to take place behind closed doors, we do respect the fact that Judge Al Collier has said every thing else will take place in open court.
Transparency is important for the integrity of this process.
Seating a jury alone proved arduous.
The trial on racketeering charges and abuse of public office related to Hill’s first term as Clayton County sheriff will likely take many twists and turns.
The prosecution will make a strong case.
Hill’s legal team will put up a strong defense.
Then, all the evidence will be presented and it will be up to a panel of sworn jurors to make determinations about his guilt or innocence.
Speculation now will give way to facts as they weigh the evidence and hear the testimony of witnesses.
Under cross examination, the veracity of witnesses against Hill will be called into question and all the evidence will be closely scrutinized.
That is the way it should be.
Hill has the right to a fair trial.
The courts and Judge Collier have worked diligently to this point to make sure that happens.
Hill has a right to face his accusers.
He has a right to take the stand and testify in his own defense, should he choose to do so.
He may, however, simply let the evidence speak for him and not take the stand.
Obviously there is great interest in anything he might have to say.
We hope that once this trial is over and the court has spoken, the community will accept the results.
If Hill is found guilty then a jury of his peers have spoken after having been privy to all the testimony and all the evidence. Obviously, they will be in a better position than anyone else to make a determination about his guilt or innocence.
On the other hand, if Hill is exonerated — found innocent of all the charges against him — then that verdict should be accepted as well.
We encourage the entire community to trust the process, regardless of the outcome.
Obviously, going into the trial some people strongly feel Hill is guilty.
Others have come to this day strongly believing in his innocence.
That is why we hold trials.
A jury will decide and once they decide Hill will be declared either legally guilty or legally innocent.
Once that decision is made, then it will be time for the entire community to move forward and put this chapter behind us, either without Hill or with him.
— Editor Jim Zachary