ATLANTA — 11Alive learned Thursday suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill could be sentenced before the end of the year.
A jury found Hill guilty Wednesday on six of the seven federal abuse charge for ordering inmates to be held in restraint chairs for hours with apparently no provocation.
Now, Hill may spend time in prison as an inmate.
“Whenever you have a federal conviction, that kickstarts a process where there's a pre-sentence investigation report that's prepared and then a sentencing hearing scheduled," said Atlanta-area trial lawyer Tom Church.
Church, who specializes in federal criminal defense, said sentencing usually happens a few months after a federal conviction.
“The probation office prepares a pre-sentence investigation report," Church said. "There'll be a sentencing hearing where the lawyers can argue about the contents of that report and the federal sentencing guidelines that the judge has to calculate.”
A judge calculates what the recommended sentencing range should be under federal guidelines.
“The fact that Sheriff Hill was a public official and the fact that there was injury to folks, I'd expect that each one of his counts would call for about somewhere in the neighborhood of three to four years," Church explained.
Church said the judge can run the sentences consecutively, which means back-to-back, or concurrently, which means all at the same time.
“The statutory maximum sentence here is 10 years, which means, in theory, the judge could sentence Sheriff Hill to 10 years for each count, and then stack that all on top of each other," Church said.
Church said even though the jury acquitted Hill on one count, the judge can still consider it in sentencing under federal law.
Hill's lawyer plans to appeal the conviction.