Lawsuit filed to force Gov. Deal to intervene in Victor Hill cas - FOX 13 News

Lawsuit filed to force Gov. Deal to intervene in Victor Hill case

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CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -

A Clayton County resident has filed suit against Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal to force invention in the case of Sheriff Victor Hill.

Hill won office while under indictment on felony corruption and racketeering charges stemming from his first term in 2004.

James Buckman is trying to get a Fulton County judge to compel Gov. Deal to appoint a review commission regarding the felony indictment pending against Hill.

The suit comes a day after Deal announced that he wouldn't impanel a commission because Hill was a private citizen when he was indicted on 37 counts in February 2012. Charges include racketeering, theft by taking and false statements stemming from alleged actions he took during his first term as sheriff four years ago. The Georgia Sheriff's Association had asked Deal to suspend Hill and appoint an interim sheriff while his case plays out in court.

Page Pate, the attorney for Buckman, says the governor and his staff are not interpreting that law correctly.

"The governor's interpretation of this statute is just wrong.  Mr. Buckman is not asking the governor to suspend Victor Hill. He's simply asking the judge here in Fulton County to make the governor look at this statute again and come to the conclusion that we've come to, which is it's mandatory the governor has to appoint the panel," Buckman said.

"I mean, ultimately, if we're right here, then there's going to be will be a panel and they'll going to consider suspending Victor Hill. To that extent, it is certainly about Victor Hill."

Victor Hill's attorney, Steven Frey, said that there is no merit to the case.

"The governor has read the statute correctly and we can all assume that the governor is getting good, sound legal advice as well as being a good lawyer himself. And so the governor has read this statute correctly and it just simply doesn't apply to Sheriff Hill," said Frey.

Frey said that he believes the law will allow Hill, who has been sworn in as sheriff, to serve the county.

Pate said that he expects a hearing in the next few weeks. The Georgia Attorney General's office, which handles lawsuits against the governor, declined comment, saying that they had not seen the lawsuit yet.

Frey said that Hill has been working from home after dealing with a family emergency.

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