First Amendment

Explicit Web Site Justifies Cop Firing, Court Rules

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The First Amendment does not protect an Arizona police officer fired for posting sexually explicit videos on a Web site, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the city of Chandler was not liable for firing policeman Ronald Dible, the Arizona Daily Star reports. The policeman ran a Web site that charged users a fee to watch nude videos and view photos of Dible’s wife in sexual poses and activities with Dible, another woman and inanimate objects.

Judge Ferdinand Fernandez wrote in his opinion (PDF) that the Web site did not contribute to matters of public concern.

“It would not seem to require an astute moral philosopher or brilliant social scientist to discern the fact that Ronald Dible’s activities, when known to the public, would be detrimental to the mission and functions of the employer,” he wrote.

A concurring judge said the city could fire Dible because he lied about his involvement with the Web site, but the First Amendment protected his Internet activities, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Judge William Canby said the majority’s reasoning could be used to support the firing of a police officer who marches in a gay pride parade.

A hat tip to How Appealing, which posted the stories.

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