Freedom Of Speech Case Study

705 Words 3 Pages
This case examined whether First Amendment “Freedom of Speech” rights applied to government employees when directly correlated to the employee’s official duties. Richard Ceballos, as a calendar deputy in the district attorney’s office, handled some supervisory responsibilities over other lawyers. In doing so, he sometimes was approached by defense attorneys and asked to review and investigate aspects of pending cases. In one such instance, Ceballos was asked to look into a case where the defense attorney had challenged a warrant due to what the attorney felt were inaccuracies in the affidavit used to acquire the warrant. Once Ceballos investigated, he agreed that the warrant was ill obtained. When he contacted the deputy sheriff who filed …show more content…
The defense had Ceballos testify on his findings regarding the affidavit and the evidence used to procure the warrant. The trial court rejected the challenge to the warrant. Subsequently, Ceballos felt he faced retaliatory employment actions due to his speaking out on what he felt was a miscarriage of justice:
• reassignment from his calendar deputy position to a trial deputy
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In addressing the correlation the lower court made in relation to Pickering, the Supreme Court first had to decide if Ceballos made the speech as a private citizen on a matter of public concern. Ceballos’ memorandum was written pursuant to his duties as a prosecutor, therefore the expectation of the memorandum to be protected under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court also stated that official communications have official consequences. The consequences of Ceballos’ statements were a heated confrontation between interested parties and his jeopardizing a critical part of the prosecutions

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