Speech being attacted again

Posted: 05/27/2010 by tpgow in 2011

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Live Oak prosecutor fired for speaking to tea party, others

It weighs right to free speech against employer protecting office’s integrity.Posted: May 24, 2010 – 7:36pm

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Jarvis

Jarvis

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By Paul Pinkham

An assistant state attorney in Live Oak was fired Monday after she refused to stop speaking to tea party rallies and other groups, her boss said.

Prosecutor KrisAnne Hall asked a federal judge Friday  for a ruling that would have allowed her to keep speaking and prevented her boss, State Attorney Skip Jarvis, from following through on threats to fire her if she didn’t stop.

Courtroom arguments on that request hadn’t been scheduled by Monday afternoon, when Jarvis said he fired Hall shortly after receiving a copy of her federal complaint.

Click here to view a .pdf of the complaint filed by Hall

He called her a good prosecutor, who crossed an ethical line with her speeches and radio appearances.

Read one of Hall’s speeches

“You can’t take a job advocating for the state and go out and take a position against the state,” Jarvis said. “I advised her from my first learning of her activity that she was free to say and do whatever she desired within the law, but she could not do so while assistant counsel for the state.”

Hall, 40, said she spoke about the original intent of the U.S. Constitution, smaller government, budget deficits and Florida’s lawsuit against health care reform. Describing herself as a disabled Army veteran, she said all are federal issues she’s passionate about.

“I never said anything bad about the state. I never said anything bad about Mr. Jarvis,” said Hall. “I love being an assistant state attorney, [but] I’m not ready to give up on my constitutional rights.”

Now instead of an injunction, she and her lawyer plan to amend their complaint to sue Jarvis for retaliatory conduct.

“To fire someone over their political views doesn’t set well with most folks,” said her attorney, Gary Edinger  of Gainesville.

Jarvis said he first learned of Hall’s activities last month from a constituent after she spoke at tea party gatherings in North Florida and on a Lake City radio station.

“They were confronting me about my office being used to legitimize what they consider to be a fringe right-wing group,” Jarvis wrote in an e-mail attached to Hall’s lawsuit. “I hate to do this, but I have to ask you to disassociate yourself from these folks.”

Hall responded that she was speaking on her own time and was careful not to be introduced as an assistant state attorney. She said she spoke in response to a request to help educate people about the Constitution.

Nevertheless, Jarvis responded that she was identified as an assistant state attorney and had to stop. After several more e-mail exchanges, she replied that he was being unfair.

“Even when I was in the military, restrictions on my constitutional rights were never so unreasonable,” she said. “… I fought for these rights in the military, and as a sworn officer, I am sworn to defend them.”

The e-mails were followed by a letter from Edinger to Jarvis, warning about a potential lawsuit and challenging the state attorney’s view that Hall’s activities were in any way disruptive to the State Attorney’s Office.

Jarvis responded by letter, also attached to the lawsuit, noting that his assistants serve as appointed representatives of the state and do so knowing their outside activities have boundaries.

“She has been given a directive and now must decide whether her desire to speak outweighs her desire to retain my appointment,” Jarvis wrote May 10. “It is her decision.”

The issue balances free speech rights and a public employer’s desire to protect the integrity of the workplace, according to labor and First Amendment lawyers contacted by the Times-Union.

Lawyer Ed Birk  said an elected state attorney can weigh whether an assistant’s comments impair the public’s perception of the office.

“There’s a legitimate interest of the state attorney to operate the office in a way that instills public confidence, so there are limitations he or she can put on the assistants,” said Birk, who has several media clients. “The rule is generally does the employee’s public conduct interfere with the proper operation of the office.”

In a small community, Birk said, prosecutors often are easily recognizable, and people will naturally associate an assistant state attorney’s public comments with the office she works for.

But labor lawyer Tad Delegal  said Hall has a legitimate First Amendment claim if she was speaking on her own time and her expressed viewpoints weren’t associated with her official duties.

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Comments
  1. Longknife 21 says:

    Email from KrisAnne Hall
    Thank you so much for all your efforts. Here is the press release by the Attorney General, Bill McCollum:

    ATTORNEY GENERAL ISSUES STATEMENT ON ISSUE RELATED TO FREE SPEECH

    TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today issued the following statement regarding reports that the State Attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit may have terminated one of his employees for exercising her right to free speech:

    “I am deeply troubled by the reports that KrisAnne Hall, a former assistant state attorney for the Third Judicial Circuit, may have been fired for exercising her First Amendment right to free speech. The right to speak freely without fear of persecution is one of the most important rights we as Americans enjoy, a right that should be protected.

    “While Florida’s State Attorneys are independently elected and do not report to me, I intend to look into this matter more closely in the coming days.”
    …………………………………………………

    This proves we can make be heard! Politicians see the light when they feel the heat!
    Also this story is really going viral! Go to google or Yahoo! Search and see.

  2. Longknife 21 says:

    http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Attorney_General

    Sir:
    As a native Floridian and former resident of Suwanee County, I am appalled at the firing of KrisAnne Hall by Skip Jarvis. He did this at the urging of hard-core Democrats, this is totally politically motivated and needs to be investigated.
    Please read Ms Hall’s speech at: http://gainesvilleteaparty.org/local-info/speech-by-krisanne-hall/
    How can any patriotic American find any fault with anything she said? To punish her for teaching the Constitution and our history is an outrage! I am a Vietnam Vet, and she is a disabled vet, so she is my ‘sister’. I will not tolerate her to be punished by some political prostitutes for honoring her Oath! She should be praised not fired, for she brings respect and honor to an Office that badly needs it!

    ……………………………………………………….

    I don’t know if this will do any good but it is worth a try.

  3. Longknife 21 says:

    Thank you tpgow! This is an issue we can win on! The Third Circuit States Attorney Office has long been a corrupt Democrat cesspit of favoritism and influence pedaling for campaign contributions. I used to live there.

    Skip Jarvis Email: Skip.jarvis@sa3.state.fl.us

    States Attorney Office
    100 Court Street SE
    Live Oak, FL 32064
    Phone: (386) 362-2320
    Fax: (386) 362-5370
    Watts: (800) 262-9799

    Read KrisAnne Hall’s Speech: http://gainesvilleteaparty.org/local-info/speech-by-krisanne-hall/

    After you read her speech, what can you find that is objectionable to any real American? Skip Jarvis is a political whore! A tool of the hard-core Democrat Power-mongers that want Ms Hall punished for being a Patriotic American!

    Fla. Attorney General: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact

  4. tpgow says:

    Please make your voice heard on this one CALL JARVIS & COMPLAIN

    Skip Jarvis’ local Phone: (386) 362-2320…..make your voices heard on this one!

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