A Georgia attorney who asked a mother to recant an eyewitness account of her son’s molestation gave up his law license Jan. 29.
The lawyer, Larry Bush Hill, petitioned for voluntary surrender of his law license after pleading guilty to felony witness tampering and attempting to suborn perjury.
The charges stemmed from Hill’s representation of Mark Lynn McGill, who was charged with aggravated child molestation in 2015, after his girlfriend reported seeing McGill engage in oral sex with her minor son.
According to an indictment, the mother faced unrelated criminal charges, and Hill tried to induce her not to testify against McGill by conveying an offer to pay for a lawyer to represent the mother in her criminal case.
The indictment says Hill asked the mother to sign an affidavit stating that the child told her that he lied about the incident because McGill “had taken his video game system away.”
The affidavit said the meeting occurred on May 1, 2017. McGill’s docket indicates that Hill moved to withdraw as counsel two days later. Before he withdrew, Hill filed a motion asking the court to “consider testimony regarding [the] alleged victim’s prior false accusations against persons other than Defendant.”
Hill is the son of a retired judge, and his arrest and conviction generated intense interest from local media in Northwest Georgia and Southeastern Tennessee.
After Hill pleaded guilty last September, The Chattanooga Times Free Press acquired letters he had sent to clients, informing them of his impending conviction and disbarment. The paper interviewed some of Hill’s clients for a story about the difficulties clients face when their lawyers unexpectedly drop cases because of disciplinary action.
The article also includes details that were left out of the indictment about the investigation that led to Hill’s arrest.
According to the Free Press, the charges against McGill’s ex-girlfriend involved drugs, and she was in jail when Hill met with her and tried to convince her to recant her eyewitness account of McGill’s alleged abuse:
through a friend on the outside, the woman happened to know Hill was going to ask her to recant her story. With tapes and audio recorders rolling, the woman told Hill she had, in fact, seen his client receive oral sex from a 12-year-old boy. Hill said his client could hire her an attorney for her drug case. Then, according to an incident report, he returned to the jail with an affidavit—supposedly written by the woman, saying that she never saw the crime.
The Georgia Supreme Court accepted Hill’s petition in a two-page per curiam opinion. The opinion says Hill violated Georgia Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(a)(2), which addresses felony convictions, and that voluntary surrender of license is tantamount to disbarment.
The case is In re Hill, 2018 BL 28269, Ga., No. S18Y0256, 1/29/18.