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August 02, 2011


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Larry Rosenthal

I do not mean to quarrel with the holding in Jackler -- perhaps it is correct that when acting in the capacity of a "witness" a police officer is not engaged in duty-related speech within the meaning of Garcetti. In Garcetti itself, the Court seemed to take it as given that Ceballos's testimony in the underlying criminal case was eligible for First Amendment protection. But, putting that aside, can it possibly be the case that every time a police officer is disciplined for filing a false report the officer is entitled to have a jury decide whether the police department's assessment of the report's veracity was correct? If not, maybe there is something to Garcetti's decision to leave these matters to managerial prerogative.

Larry Rosenthal
Chapman University School of Law

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