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Seifert v. Unified Gov’t of Wyandotte Cnty./ Kansas City, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 3223, 779 F.3d 1141 (10th Cir. 2015) 

Jan 30, 2015

A former reserve deputy sued the county sheriff’s department under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 for violation of his First Amendment rights to free speech. The deputy alleged that the department retaliated against him for testifying in support of a criminal defendant in a civil rights trial about mistreatment by federal law enforcement officers. The district court granted summary judgment to the City, supported in part by the conclusion that the deputy’s testimony was part of his official duty as a public employee and therefore was not legally protected speech. The Tenth Circuit reversed, holding that the deputy’s courtroom testimony was protected by the First Amendment because it involved the “very kind of speech necessary to prosecute corruption by public officials.” Id. [21] (emphasis added)