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7th Circuit affirms official's termination

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The city of Anderson was justified in firing an official who failed to support a mayoral campaign, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.

In Larry Davis v. Kris Ockomon, et al., No. 10-2589, Larry Davis appealed his termination as senior humane officer, a job he held from 1988 to 2008. In 2007, Davis backed the mayoral campaign of Darryl Rensil, who was running against Kris Ockomon. After Ockomon won the primary, he reached out to Davis in attempt to gain support before the upcoming general election. Davis declined, purportedly because he thought Ockomon hadn't lived in Anderson long enough to satisfy the residency requirement to become mayor.

Ockomon won the election and fired Davis in January 2008. Davis then filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, claiming his termination violated the First and 14th amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

The District Court looked at the job description for senior humane officer and determined that it could be characterized as a policymaking role, thereby subject to removal on the basis of political affiliation. Davis had contended his job had no policymaking authority. The 7th Circuit looked further into Anderson city ordinances to better understand the scope of the job and found that the senior humane officer has broad discretion over permits, policies and licenses, which indicates that it is a policymaking job. The 7th Circuit therefore affirmed the District Court in all respects.

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  1. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

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  3. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  4. JLAP and other courtiers ... Those running court systems, have most substance abuse issues. Probably self medicating to cover conscience issues arising out of acts furthering govt corruption

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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