Probation Officer Claims Arizona Fired Him Illegally for Supporting Marijuana Decriminalization
A probation officer claims that he was illegally fired by Arizona and Mohave County for signing a letter in support of a California ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana.
Joe Miller, 54, was one of 32 law enforcement officers and retired officers who signed the letter.
Miller claims Arizona and Mohave County fired him to retaliate for his signing of the letter, “Law Enforcers Say Control and Tax Cannabis to Protect Public Safety,” in June 2010, reports Courthouse News.
The letter from the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), endorsed California’s Proposition 19 – a ballot measure that would have allowed adults to grow and posses small amounts of marijuana. The measure lost, 46.5% to 53.5%.
Miller’s boss, defendant Friend Walker, Mohave Country’s chief probation officer, found out that Miller signed the measure in November and Miller was fired in December.
“The Notice of Dismissal states, among other things, that Mr. Miller ‘fail[ed]to maintain neutrality in action and appearance when [he] gave permission to the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) organization to include [his] job title and department “Deputy Probation Officer, Mohave County Probation Department” with [his] endorsement of a California ballot proposition posted on-line [sic] on September 13, 2010,” according to the complaint.
Miller said in a statement, “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. As law enforcement agents and public servants, we swear to uphold the Constitution and it’s only fair for our government to respect our First Amendment rights as well.”
Miller seeks compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional violations, wrongful firing, tortuous interference with contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.