Victor Hill, the former sheriff of Clayton County, will learn his fate from a federal judge on Tuesday morning.
Hill, who was convicted in October of violating the civil rights of six pretrial detainees at the Clayton County Jail, faces federal prison time. Hill, who attorney Drew Findling said plans to appeal, sold his Hampton home to Acting Sheriff Levon Allen and retired with his county benefits intact, then retained an additional high-powered criminal defense attorney, Arthur Aidala.
Hill’s attorneys have asked that he be placed on home confinement with probation and a fine.
Based on federal presentencing guidelines, which are somewhat complex, Hill could get 70 to 87 months. Federal prosecutors Brent Gray and Bret Hobson emphasized in a presentencing memo that they do not “intend to present evidence to support a finding that the offenses involved multiple criminally liable participants.” They do say Hill should face enhanced penalties because of his use of restraints, which would mean closer to 46 to 57 months.
However, the presentencing guidelines are just one factor in whatever sentence U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor Ross decides to impose.
Some other factors Ross may take into account include:
- whether Hill admitted his role in the crime
- Hill’s own criminal history or lack thereof
- whether Hill knew any of the victims were “unusually vulnerable due to age or physical or mental condition”
- character references, such as those presented by supporters of former CCSO Chief of Staff Mitzi Bickers at her sentencing hearing
Depending on the level of prison to which Hill is sentenced—minimum security, low security, medium security, or high security— he could ask to go into protective custody. Because he was a law enforcement official, Hill could be a target for other inmates.
Hill’s sentencing will take place at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 14 in Room 1708 of the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta.
After Hill is sentenced, Ross could order him taken into custody immediately or allow him to remain free until the federal Bureau of Prisons assigns him to a facility. (Bickers was allowed to remain free, with an ankle monitor, until she was told where to report to serve her sentence.)
Hill’s sentencing comes one week before the special election to replace him. Hill has been stumping for his handpicked successor, Allen, and has put out statements on social media and in campaign literature urging his followers to support Allen, quoting passages of Scripture that liken himself to God (the “father”) and Allen to Jesus (the “son”).
Allen was present when at least three of the inmates were strapped into the chair, and exchanged text messages with Hill over what to do with a 17-year-old. Hill ordered the teen into restraints before the teen was booked into the jail.