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Appeals court upholds dismissal of former deputy's lawsuit

Jul 15, 2017

PORTALES, N.M. (AP) — An appellate court has upheld a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a former Roosevelt County sheriff's deputy who claimed he was wrongfully terminated. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling Wednesday upholds a magistrate judge who dismissed Robert Ellison's suit alleging his firing violated his constitutional rights to free speech, due process and equal protection. Ellison contends he was fired after he was falsely accused of mishandling a traffic stop and related arrest and after he reported alleged wrongdoing by another deputy. The 10th Circuit says Ellison's report of the other deputy's alleged wrongdoing was part of his official duties and not free speech protected from discipline. The ruling also said a supervisor's criticism of Ellison's handling of the traffic stop and arrest didn't violate Ellison's rights.