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News (Media Awareness Project) - US AZ: Ex-County Employee Files Suit For Civil Liberties
Title:US AZ: Ex-County Employee Files Suit For Civil Liberties
Published On:2011-11-28
Source:Kingman Daily Miner (AZ)
Fetched On:2011-11-30 06:03:11

KINGMAN - Another former county employee is suing the county. The
American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona released a statement Nov.
17 saying it was representing former County Probation officer Joe
Miller who was allegedly fired for signing a letter in support of a
California ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana.

In June 2010, Miller was one of 32 current and retired law
enforcement officers who signed their names to a letter from Law
Enforcement Against Prohibition endorsing Proposition 19, an
initiative that would have allowed adults over the age of 21 to
legally possess and grow small amounts of marijuana for personal use.
The letter was released to the press on Sept. 13, 2010.

According to the ACLU, the letter also identified which departments
the officers worked at and included a disclaimer saying the
department listings were for identification purposes only.

Miller was notified by then Chief Probation Officer Friend Walker
that he had failed to comply with the department's code of ethics by
signing the letter and not clearly stating that those were his
personal views and not an endorsement by the department. Miller was
fired a month later.

"I was terminated not because my service was inadequate, but because
my views on drug policy didn't align with those of Mohave County or
my superiors in the Probation Department," Miller said.

"There's no question Mohave County officials targeted Miller based on
his political views," said ACLU of Arizona attorney Daniel Bonnett.
"Government employees have a First Amendment right to speak out on
matters of public concern and retaliating against them for exercising
their free speech rights is simply un-American."

The lawsuit also lists Walker, Assistant Chief Probation officer
Elaine Grissom and the state of Arizona as defendants.
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