Tuesday, June 16, 2009

“They were high-fiving each other at the office.”

That's Allan Kaiser talking about the State Attorney's Office after David Ranck's recent arrest for battery on the pizza girl. Long before his arrest (and subsequent firing), Ranck brought a whistle-blower lawsuit in federal court before Judge Gold. The State, represented by Oscar Marrero, has moved to dismiss, and Judge Gold heard argument last Friday. This case is all drama, drama, drama, no?

From the DBR:

Lawyers representing Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle urged U.S. District Judge Alan Gold today to discard a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by suspended prosecutor David Ranck.

Ranck, who questioned the actions of a Miami-Dade police officer who fatally shot a teen-age burglary suspect in 2004, claims his office retaliated against him.

His lawsuit claims Rundle’s office violated his free-speech rights after taking him off investigations involving police shooting after the shooting, and improperly reprimanded him last year for posting internal memos and e-mail related to the justifiable-force investigation.

Coral Gables lawyer Oscar E. Marrero, who is representing Rundle, countered the office was within its rights to discipline Ranck for his comments to the police.

“There is no First Amendment protection if speech owes its existence to your professional responsibilities,” Marrero told Gold.

Ranck’s Miami lawyer, Allan Kaiser, argued by Marrero’s logic, no whistle-blower claims could ever succeed.

“The chilling effect would be obvious,” he said.

Kaiser argued the state attorney’s office didn’t act against Ranck for weeks after he posted his comments and documents related to the shooting on a blog that has since been shut down. Ranck wrote some of the documents and obtained them from the state attorney’s office through a public records request.

Gold appeared inclined to deny Marrero’s motion for summary judgment. “It’s not an everyday occurrence where an assistant state attorney makes a public records request to an office for a memo he wrote, is it?” Gold asked rhetorically. He said Ranck’s supervisors probably should have realized his intentions when he made the request.

Ranck was suspended last month after he was arrested by Miami Beach police on a misdemeanor battery charge after a confrontation at his condo with a pizza- delivery woman. Kaiser represents Ranck in the battery case as well.

“For all intents and purposes, he’s been fired,” Kaiser said. “What they wanted to do is suspend him in never-never land until they decide they want to fire him.”

After Ranck’s arrest, Kaiser said, “They were high-fiving each other at the office.”

When asked if the alleged assault affected his client’s credibility, Kaiser said, “It has absolutely no relation whatsoever.”


Rumpole said...

Fishing in my pond again?

David Oscar Markus said...

Last time I checked this was a federal case... with actual legal motions and argument. Get back to the escalator problems.