What was he thinking? Part II

February 23, 2011
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

I had a long blog typed out debating free speech and comments you make on your personal time and whether those comments should impact your job. The topic of the blog is Jeff Cox, a now former deputy attorney general who advocated using “live ammunition” on his Twitter account to clear out protesters in the Wisconsin capitol building.

His tweet was in response to tweets from Mother Jones staffers Feb. 19 that riot police might remove demonstrators from the Wisconsin capitol building.  Cox tweeted “Use live ammunition.” A staffer questioned Cox, found out he was a deputy attorney general here, and then wrote a story about his Twitter comment and other statements made on his blog, Pro Cynic.

Apparently, Cox doesn’t hold back on how he feels about what’s going on in the world, comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden and calling President Barack Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy to the nation.

Cox told the Mother Jones writer that he could defend all his comments on Twitter and his blog, but later didn’t respond to follow-up questions posed by the reporter. He made all the comments on personal accounts.

The AG’s office said earlier today it was going to conduct a review of the matter. Just as I was about to post my blog, I found out Cox was fired. In a statement released announcing the firing, the office says “Civility and courtesy toward all members of the public are very important to the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. We respect individuals’ First Amendment right to express their personal views on private online forums, but as public servants we are held by the public to a higher standard, and we should strive for civility.”

Out of curiosity, I tried to go to his blog, but it’s been removed. His Twitter account is still active, @JCCentCom, so I perused his previous postings. Now, I don’t use Twitter and honestly have used it to only look at the Indiana Supreme Court’s Twitter account and IU basketball coach Tom Crean’s account. I found his original tweet that led to the article. He also responded to someone saying “against thugs physically threatening legally-elected state legislators & governor? You're damn right I advocate deadly force” and “Murder is by definition "unlawful," brainiac. Using force to clear out threatening individuals would be "lawful."”

First, it was the Illinois attorney indicted for smuggling drugs into a Terre Haute prison, and now a deputy attorney general making inflammatory comments on public forums. Did Cox think it didn’t matter because he was using personal accounts? Doesn’t he realize that as a government official, he’s held to a higher standard than the average Joe? Did Cox think it didn’t matter because he was using personal accounts? Why aren’t people thinking before they act?

ADVERTISEMENT
  • Party is irrelevant
    All political associations are swept aside when death is the response to political debate. He got what he deserved.
  • Public service
    Mr. Cox certainly demonstrates the flip side of public service - the state does NOT serve Mr. Cox (or pay him now for that matter). Maybe he should have been working rather than spending his time as a Twit on social media?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

ADVERTISEMENT