Constitutional Law Keyed to Cohen
Garcetti v. Ceballos
Richard Ceballos (P) was an employee of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. When he found that a sheriff had wrongly presented the facts in an affidavit for a search warrant, he made the matter known to the prosecuting attorneys in the case. They agreed with him that the affidavit was likely not correct. However, the D.A.’s office refused to dismiss the case. Following this, he revealed his belief to the defense counsel, and was subpoenaed by the defense. Later he sued the D.A.’s office on the ground that the D.A.s in his office were treating him badly in repayment for his cooperation with the defense, which cooperation formed part of his right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment. The district court found for the D.A. under the plea of qualified immunity, but this decision was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which held that qualified immunity did not apply since the speech by Ceballosconcerned matters which concerned the public and was therefore protected by the First Amendment.
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