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.