Ex-Detroit Lawyer Loses Appeal Over ‘Ghetto’ Remark

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. HURLCO says:

    Typical PC run amok. Kathleen Leavy is right. the 36th District is a ghetto court in every sense of the word.

  2. Racerboy says:

    I am certain that firing her will make everything much better in the cesspool known as Detroit. Maybe they should contact Kwame, Bobby Ferguson or all the other lying, cheating, thieving individuals that typify the Detroit culture for guidance and help. God help the few remaining good people in that city.

  3. Jim says:

    And what is the proper term? Murder City? I’d bet the dark skinned judge has used the term himself. Someone needs to ax him. That judge is the racist. I’m just sayin’!

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