Clayton County

Federal judge calls former Sheriff Victor Hill ‘arrogant,’ says he hasn’t learned his lesson

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating the civil rights of pretrial detainees on Tuesday.

The convicted former sheriff showed no emotion as Judge Eleanor Ross told him his sentence for violating the civil rights of pretrial detainees at the jail. His attorney, Drew Findling, says Hill seemed to take the news well.

“He’s just absorbing everything. This is a lot for him to take in,” Findling said.

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Some of Hill’s detractors told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that they thought 18 months wasn’t enough.

“I was happy that justice was served, but I felt like he should have gotten more time,” said Terry Lee, a former deputy at the jail who was fired by Hill.

Prosecutors asked for a 46-month sentence. The government said Hill disregarded the detainees’ constitutional rights by putting them in restraint chairs for hours as punishment and for his personal pleasure.

Findling was happy the judge went with a lower sentence.

“We had hoped that there would be no incarceration, but the drastic reduction was a sharp contrast to that which federal probation and that which the U.S. Attorney’s office was asking for,” he said.

Hill told Judge Ross he did not intend to harm anyone, and he acted according to his training.


Judge Ross says she considered the many letters she got explaining how well Hill ran the jail, how he fought crime, attended HOA meetings and attended funerals in her sentencing decision.

She added that Hill was either a hero or a villain to people. She said she also received calls about the many people he fired and about him shooting a woman in Gwinnett County.

Judge Ross said as much as Hill loved the law, he loved power combined with arrogance. The judge said it appeared Hill hadn’t learned his lesson and she urged him to sit down for a moment and think about everything.

“She was spot on with her assessment of him on that, and that’s what led him to be where we are today: his arrogance,” Lee said.

Hill must serve six years on supervised release when he gets out. Judge Ross said he cannot work in law enforcement or be a paid consultant while on probation. It seems she did not want him to get out and go back to work at the jail.

The Bureau of Prisons will determine when Hill must turn himself in.

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