Judge declines to remove Victor Hill from sheriff's office

6:54 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill

JONESBORO, GA -- He is under criminal indictment and has no legal authority to make arrests. But Victor Hill's hold on the Clayton County sheriff's office is as strong as ever -- thanks to an opinion issued by Clayton County Probate Judge Pam Ferguson.

"I was ready to act if I was allowed to act. But I cannot," Judge Ferguson told 11 Alive News, after she reviewed a letter sent this week by POST -- the agency that suspended the certification that gave Sheriff Hill the power to make arrests. As of this week, Hill's lack of certification as sheriff hit the six month mark -- potentially triggering his removal from office.

In response, Judge Ferguson noted the law "provides that the office of Sheriff is deemed vacant when POST certification is revoked.... In the present case, his certification has not (been) revoked, but suspended."

"I have no authority to act at this time. Because what I received is a suspension rather than a revocation," Ferguson said.

MORE | Victor Hill set for trial in August

That distinction, Ferguson said, prevents her from appointing an interim replacement for the resilient Clayton County sheriff -- who won easily re-election in 2012 despite a 37 count criminal indictment. Hill took office and stayed there after Governor Nathan Deal declined to appoint a panel to consider Hill's suspension from office. Sheriff Hill's run of good fortune will perhaps face the ultimate test in August when a jury hears the criminal case against him.

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