Discover more from Public Enemy Number 1
A Gainesville-based Florida Bar grievance committee will now investigate Schofield prosecutor Jerry Hill
My complaint against Hill very quickly cleared the "Bar Counsel" hurdle. Now, a 20-person grievance committee in Gainesville's 8th Circuit will consider it, acting like a "grand jury" for the Bar.
My Florida Bar complaint against longtime former 10th Circuit State Attorney Jerry Hill for misconduct related to the Leo Schofield injustice has already moved forward again.
Last week, I noted both that Hill has received a fat monthly payment from his former office since retiring in 2016 for parole consulting — and that my complaint had reached the “Bar Counsel” stage of the complaint process. Only 1/3 of complaints get that far, according to the Bar.
Jerry Hill is paid $5,833/month to attend parole hearings. So why did he miss Leo Schofield's in May?
In that “Bar Counsel” step, a lawyer working for the Bar “conducts a further investigation” of the complaint in question and decides whether it should move forward to a grievance committee.
I did not know how long “further investigation” would take for the Bar Counsel to act. It seems to have taken only a day or two.
“Like a grand jury …”
On September 29, the Bar Counsel assigned Hill’s case to the grievance committee based in Gainesville’s 8th Circuit. Each circuit has at least one grievance committee, which the Bar likens to a grand jury for lawyer behavior. Here’s how the Bar describes what happens now. Note the part in bold for timing. It seems that the process will slow down now. There may not be a new development for three to six months.
Grievance committees are made up of volunteers from the community, at least one-third of whom are nonlawyers. Each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits has at least one grievance committee.
The grievance committee chair assigns the case, which can take three to six months to complete, to a committee member for investigation. After interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence, the investigating member makes a recommendation to the grievance committee.
Like a grand jury, the grievance committee decides whether there is probable cause to believe a lawyer violated the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and whether discipline is warranted.
I was pleased that the Bar Counsel chose to assign Hill’s case somewhere other than Polk’s 10th Circuit grievance committee. I had recommended that in my complaint, given the high public profile in Polk for both Jerry Hill and me. I don’t know if the Bar Counsel followed my recommendation — or if this was just the luck of the draw. Here are the possible outcomes of the grievance committee investigation:
Step 4 of, maybe, 9 — a lengthy, expensive step
Here are the headline steps of a Florida Bar complaint. There is a choose-your-own-adventure quality to each, with various outcome possibilities at each step that affect each subsequent step. You can see for yourself at this link.
Response and rebuttal
Case forwarded to branch office
Case referred to Grievance Committee for additional investigation (We are here now.)
Florida Bar Board of Governors reviews Grievance Committee actions
Trial by referee
Designated review and Board of Governors review Referee’s Report
Supreme Court reviews Referee’s report or consent judgments
Discipline order is enforced
As I read these steps, and the Bar’s description of the grievance committee role, I suspect this is where Hill’s legal representation needs get more substantial and expensive than they have been to this point.
Why should that matter to you?
You definitely paid him not $5,888 in May not to attend the highest profile parole hearing in the history of the 10th Circuit — even though attending parole hearings is literally part of his “job” description.
Much to answer for
Failing to do his cushy, taxpayer-funded consulting job is the least of Jerry Hill’s gross behavior in the Leo Schofield case.
Leo Schofield has been in prison more than 30 years for the murder of his wife, despite the fact that a convicted murderer named Jeremy Scott has confessed repeatedly, in escalating detail, to Michelle Schofield’s murder, and despite the fact that this known killer left physical evidence — a palm print — on Michelle Schofield’s car the night she was killed. No jury has ever heard any of those facts, thanks largely to Jerry Hill. And no eyewitness or physical evidence has ever tied Schofield to the killing. He was convicted on vibes alone.
Schofield’s story has become famous because of the Bone Valley podcast by Gilbert King and Kelsey Decker
In a 2020 Parole Commission hearing for Schofield, Hill told parole commissioners that “the defendant” in the Schofield case, who is Leo Schofield, had confessed to killing his wife Michelle. This is unambiguously false. Schofield has never wavered in asserting his innocence. Hill made several other blatantly false statements — in addition to constantly conflating Leo Schofield Jr. with his father, Leo Schofield Sr.
I filed a Florida Bar Complaint against Jerry Hill in July 2023 over that 2020 performance, for which he was paid thousands of taxpayer dollars, and his abusive behavior at a public meeting in 2023, when I asked him about his 2020 performance.
Here is my complaint:
And my rebuttal to Hill’s weak response: