Gov. office has plan after Hill elected sheriff

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

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ATLANTA - Clayton County's new sheriff-elect is also its former sheriff. Victor Hill received nearly 64,000 votes Tuesday night and write-in candidate Garland Watkins got nearly 16,800 votes.

Gov. Nathan Deal's office said it has a plan for newly-elected Hill, who's facing more than 30 felony charges, but are not taking any action until after he is sworn into office.

Then it all depends on if he is still facing the charges. If he is, some of his peers in the state will make a decision on whether he should be suspended or not.

"It is different than what we face normally," said Brian Robinson, Deal's communications director.

Robinson said the election of Victor Hill puts the Governor in an uncomfortable position.

"It is always difficult for the governor when he is being asked to overrule a decision of the voters," Robinson said.

He said there are laws and systems in place that Deal has to follow.

If Victor Hill remains under indictment with 32 felony charges when he takes the oath of office Jan. 1, some of his peers have to step in.

"The governor will then convene a panel of two sheriffs and an attorney general. There's a strong chance that he'll be suspended for some period of time," Robinson said.

In a news conference Wednesday, Hill's attorney, Drew Findling, said this is a unique case because he's never seen so much bias in a case.

"I've never seen anything like this. Sheriff-elect Hill was indicted following an investigation led by a Clayton County detective who was previously fired by Hill in 2004," Findling said.

Findling is appealing the state's request to delay Hill's trial, which was set for Nov. 26.

"It's time for 12 of those citizens to sit in a jury box and decide the believability of a case that was initiated by the soon-to-be former Clayton County sheriff," Findling said.



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