CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - A probate judge ruled Wednesday morning that she does not have the jurisdiction to remove Victor Hill as Clayton County Sheriff, Hill's attorney told Channel 2's Mark Winne.
Judge Pam Ferguson was set to decide Wednesday whether to replace Hill with an interim sheriff.
“I’ll make a decision that’s best for the county and follows the law,” Ferguson told Winne on Wednesday.
Following Hill's indictment last year in Superior Court on charges including racketeering, one of his lawyers, Steve Frey, still says he is innocent.
“Clayton County voters believe he deserves to be sheriff and we believe he deserves his day in court, and that's where we'll resolve all the other issues,” Frey said.
The issue arose when Ferguson received a letter from Peace Officers Standards and Training, or POST. POST Executive Director Ken Vance said the law gives a sheriff six months after taking office to become registered or certified as a peace officer.
“We are required to notify the probate court judge of anyone not in compliance with Title 15, which covers sheriffs in the state of Georgia,” Vance said.
Hill’s certification expired July 1, and has been suspended since last year due to his indictment. Without certification, Hill cannot make arrests, a crucial part of a sheriff’s job. Vance interprets the law to mean that as of Monday, Victor Hill does not meet the legal requirements to be the Clayton County sheriff.
If Ferguson had agreed with the POST interpretation, she has the authority to replace Hill with an interim sheriff.
Even if Hill remains sheriff and is acquitted in his criminal case, POST said it plans to independently investigate the allegations against Hill to see if there should be any action taken against his certification.