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Unique Hill case stumps officials

Defense attorney remains confident

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

JONESBORO — Officials are in unchartered territory in finding the best way to handle the legalities of a sheriff under a 32-count felony indictment and facing years in prison if convicted.

Sheriff Victor Hill, 47, ascended to office Monday. His trial, delayed by defense and prosecution appeals, could be held later this year. 

The Georgia Court of Appeals denied a defense request to disallow the state’s appeal based on jurisdictional grounds, said special prosecutor Layla Zon.

“Basically, they wanted the Court of Appeals to overrule (trial) Judge Albert Collier’s denial of their motion to dismiss my appeal,” she said. 

Members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation want Hill left alone to do his job. They got their wish Thursday, when Gov. Nathan Deal said he wouldn’t form a panel to review Hill’s possible suspension while his case winds its way through the court system. 

The review request was made by the Georgia Sheriffs Association. Executive Director Terry Norris said Friday the organization is at an impasse with Deal’s decision.

“I think we’ve done all we know to do,” he said. “That was his intention, his decision. We made those points, the ones we believe to be valid. We got him to at least review the situation.”

The GSA wanted the panel to determine if Hill should be suspended from office until the court case was resolved. Members had offered former Clayton County Sheriff Bill Lemacks as an interim replacement. With the only course of action apparently stifled, Norris said the next step is unclear.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “This is a most unique set of circumstances.”

When Hill was indicted in January, his law enforcement certification issued by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training Council was suspended so his next stumbling block could come from POST. Under Georgia law, an uncertified newly-elected sheriff has six months to get certified or becomes unqualified to hold office. 

Whether or not Hill is considered certified is a gray area, said Ryan Powell, director of operations at POST.

“His certification is suspended and the law doesn’t specify the certification be valid,” said Powell. “It just says the sheriff must be certified. He is certified, just suspended. It’s almost a matter of semantics.”

Powell said POST can’t take any action until the end of June.

“At that time, we’ll contact the Attorney General’s Office to see how they would interpret that code section,” he said. “And go from there. If they go with him not being certified, we’ll follow the law and notify the Probate Court judge.”

If Hill is considered certified although suspended, POST won’t take any action unless he’s convicted. If Hill is convicted of any felony, his suspension becomes a revocation. However, even an exoneration or conviction of a misdemeanor doesn’t make the open POST investigation go away, said Powell.

“We will still finish the process,” he said. “The suspension can be lifted but he can still be under investigation. Of course, our case gets weaker if he is exonerated on all charges and we’ll close out the investigation pretty quick.”

Steve Frey, one of Hill’s four attorneys, said the suspended certification is a non-issue.

“He is certified,” said Frey. “POST won’t disagree that he’s certified. Six months won’t matter.”

Meanwhile, Hill quietly took office at midnight Monday, successfully avoiding reporters waiting at his parking space. 

Comments

Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

Common sense is no longer common. If Hill had been in office when he was indicted then the governor said that he would do something but since Hill wasn't in office when he was indicted the governor doesn't know what to do now that he is in office. Really ?

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

....(( "Members of the Clayton County Legislative Delegation want Hill left alone to do his job." ))

........I have been warning everyone about these lopsided Clayton County Legislators, for about 5 years.

....Many of those are the same lopsided legislators that awarded Victor Hill an increase of pay.

Sheriff Hill's opponent, Stanley Tuggle, was earning $86,000 per year.

....Some of Our Legislators, from Clayton County, gave Victor Hill a pay raise after his fiasco on the "Snipers on the Roof Top" incident, which resulted in a 7 million dollar lawsuit .

.......House Bill 704

......By: Representatives Darryl Jordan of the 77th, Heckstall of the 62nd, Celeste Johnson of the 75th, Georganna Sinkfield of the 60th, and Roberta Abdul-Salaam of the 74th

(( "The sheriff of Clayton County shall receive a total annual salary of $122,200.00 including any supplements and additional compensation for services which are paid pursuant to state law or county ordinance, which are being received on March 15, 2007, and which are paid from the funds of Clayton County. This shall not prohibit the governing authority of Clayton County from increasing the amount of any supplement or compensation for additional duties which the governing authority may lawfully pay to the sheriff on or after July 1, 2007." ))

http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/fulltext/hb704.htm

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

....In my opinion, Our Clayton County State Legislative Branch is The Holy Grail of Misrepresentation of our county.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

......The Clayton Democrat Party of Stupidity :

....."Democrats throw support behind Hill"

(( "The Clayton County Democratic Party is asking voters to re-elect Victor Hill as sheriff on Nov. 6" ))

......There are two entirely separate Democrat Parties in Clayton County; This Party is probably the Party of Lopsided Nonsense & Stupidity.

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sadbutnotsurprised 1 year, 10 months ago

I'm not sure this will be posted, as my last three have not, in spite of having nothing out-of-the-ordinary, nothing profane or inflammatory! Seems to go through and then never reappears! ; ) If I'm doing something offensive, I would love to know what, because all I'm trying to do is enter the discussion and I wouldn't want to offend! : ) Anyway I was thinking that it does seem to be a matter of semantics, but to me the bottom line for any public official should be "what is in the interest of the county," and to me, a person looking out for the best interests of the county would have waited until the next time, to run for office, so as not to put (another) cloud over Clayton County and the office of Sheriff.......

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sadbutnotsurprised 1 year, 10 months ago

One more thought - since apparently the suspension doesn't mean he is not currently certified, does anyone out there know exactly what it DOES entail, what exactly is different for a "suspended" certification, as opposed to one whose certification is NOT suspended? I'm a bit confused.....

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

......Riddle Me with this :

.........Are you "stump" ?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

......Welcome To The Empty Goblet of The Representation of Clayton County, Ga.

.......Riddle Me with this :

.....How many State Self Defense Bills ( Laws ) has any one of our The State Legislators, from Clayton County, supported or voted Yea (Y) on, during the last eight years ?

........Is supporting Victor Hill more important, than supporting our lawful rights to exist ?

....Do your own math on this.

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Robert 1 year, 10 months ago

sadbutnotsurprised One more thought - since apparently the suspension doesn't mean he is not currently certified, does anyone out there know exactly what it DOES entail, what exactly is different for a "suspended" certification, as opposed to one whose certification is NOT suspended? I'm a bit confused.....

Suspended means that Victor Hill, himself, does not have any arrest powers. Sheriff Hill on the other hand has the power to swear in his deputies. All newly elected Sheriff's have six months to become certified law enforcement officers which allows for any citizen who qualifies to run for the office without being certified first. Victor is being treated like a newly elected Sheriff and now has six months to have his suspension lifted and his certification reinstated or else he's out of a job, again.

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

...Which brings up another riddle :

....What will happen to the Deputies that Victor Hill swears in, if his time runs out, or if he is convicted ?

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

...Quote : (( " The People of Clayton County are tired of this shabby and condescending treatment from people who don’t even live here and who certainly would not deign to even drive down to Clayton County to even eat at a nice restaurant on Tara Boulevard" ))

......More Poop from the Poop Master !!

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OscarKnight 1 year, 10 months ago

.....I'm a person that has been living in this county for over 50 years, and I'm tired of these "Shabby" elected officials. "Nice Restaurant on Tara Boulevard" ?.......Why drive to Tara Blvd., when we have Chicken Restaurants everywhere else ?

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