Local

Ex-Detroit Lawyer Loses Appeal Over ‘Ghetto’ Remark

View Comments
36th District Court (WWJ Photo/Beth Fisher)

36th District Court (WWJ Photo/Beth Fisher)

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A former top lawyer for the city of Detroit who lost her job for describing a local court as “ghetto” has lost an appeal over her dismissal.

A federal appeals court said Friday that Kathleen Leavey’s comments in 2009 were not protected under the First Amendment because they were made as part of her job.

Leavey, who is white, has said she used the word “ghetto” in a conversation with a court employee to describe Detroit’s 36th District Court as inefficient and poor in serving the public. The chief judge, who is black, heard about the comment and contacted city hall. The angry call to a deputy mayor led to Leavey’s departure.

Talking to the National Law Journal, Leavey said she’s “not racist” and that her comment was taken out of context.

According to Leavey, she told an administrator that “people regard this as a ghetto court because of the way they treat people.” She explained that she was referring to a poorly managed court. “Judges don’t get on the bench until 11 o’clock. People wait in long lines. Files get lost,” she said. “It’s just badly managed.”

The appeals court ruled that the Constitution does not shield certain expressions made during official duties.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,355 other followers