Violation of First Amendment Allowed in Scott Milliman’s Wrongful Termination Case

Scott Millliman

Scott Millliman

While half of Scott Milliman’s court case counts were dismissed by Federal Judge Frederick Kapala, three remain.

Two are based on unconstitutional violations of former McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Milliman’s rights of free speech under the First Amendment.

To put it in the Judge’s words, “This court finds that Milliman’s complaint plausibly sets out a claim for relief as to the first element of the Connick-Pickering test [whether “the speech in question addresses a matter of public concern”].

“The context of Milliman’s speech centered around illegal actions allegedly being performed by the McHenry County Sheriff and his deputies. The content of Milliman’s speech, then, unquestionably concerns matters of public concern.”

As the case states, “Speech that accurately exposes official impropriety or corruption may certainly be described as highly critical of the officials it targets, yet it has generally been accorded the greatest level of First Amendment protection.

“The context of the speech, at least alleged in the complaint, was that Milliman was subpoenaed to testify in a deposition and…his speech was mandatory and required to be truthful under penalty of perjury,” the decision continues.

“There is nothing in the instant case to suggest that Milliman has had any personal stake in the accusations against Nygren and other deputies.

“Finally, in a verbal deposition provided under subpoena…courts typically consider [it] a protected form of expression.

“Accordingly based on the allegations in the complaint which this court is required to accept as true at this stage the complaint plausibly sets out a constitutional violation.”

Judge Kapala lays out the six elements of the “Pickering” case balancing test:

  1. whether the speech would create problems in maintaining discipline or harmony among co-workers
  2. whether the employment relationship is one in which personal loyalty and confidence are necessary
  3. whether the speech impeded the employee’s ability to perform (his) responsibilities
  4. the time, place and manner of the speech]
  5. the context within which the underlying dispute arose
  6. whether the speaker should be regarded as a member of the general public

“Defendants argue that, because Milliman made particularly vicious claims in his deposition testimony–including accusing Nygren of solicitation of two murders and human trafficking–and that police agencies are given more leeway to discipline employees given the rigid structure of police command…that his court should set aside the fact that there is little on the record to perform the Pickering balance test and dismiss the case nonetheless.

“The court notes, however, that the fact Milliman made potentially damning accusations against Nygren cuts both ways.

“In his complaint, Milliman alleges that all of his deposition testimony was truthful.

“Accepting that allegation as true, as the court is required to do at this point, Milliman’s exposure of murderous and felonious activities carried out by the McHenry County Sheriff and his deputies would receive extra protection under the First Amendment as being of particular concern to the general public and vital to informed decision-making.

“Accordingly, although those allegations may be extra disruptive to police discipline, truthful allegations of the same behavior would illuminate a serious deficiency in a public official of significant authority and trust.

“Nevertheless, there are still many issues in this case that are not yet sufficiently developed to permit the court to do any intelligent analysis of the factors set out in Gustafson.

“Accordingly, because the complaint sets that Milliman’s speech is a matter of public concern and because it is not possible on this record to determine whether the employer interest in maintaining discipline outweighed Milliman’s interest in free speech, the court finds that the complaint plausibly alleges a constitutional violation.”

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Part one is here.

Article two is here.

Article three is here.


Comments

Violation of First Amendment Allowed in Scott Milliman’s Wrongful Termination Case — 17 Comments

  1. Sounds rather vague to me, and more like the judge choose to err on the side of caution. Let it go to trial and let us all see.

    Proof of what Milliman says it his version of events will be the hard part, to prove that they are the truth.

  2. I spoke the truth.

    I can’t wait for the day to walk into court, and show the Juror’s and the public all my supporting evidence.

    Thanks for all your support,

    Scott

  3. Thank you Mr. Milliman.

    If we had more people in this county (and country) with some backbone, we would not have all of the corruption and problems that we do.

  4. Going Walrus hunting!!!

    You go Scott.

    Who wants to put money on how fast Nygren runs off?

  5. I would like to say a big Thank You to Mr. Milliman, and others who have taken a stand on right and wrong, to expose the corruption in McHenry County.

    I would like to see all the Police Officers and Lawyers, that left the County, because of what they knew and saw.

    Wake up McHenry County, you have a real problem that needs to be exposed.

    The time is NOW.

    Thank you Scott!!

  6. Thanks Scott for your methodical break down.

    As I had stated about Deputy Pyle and Keith Nygren;

    It’s just a matter of time.

    The “Truth” is now all laid out via some very brave men since 2008 going forward.

    Patience good citizen’s of McHenry County.

    As I’ve told you, the time is coming!!

  7. Thank you David, you have really given people hope that life would get better in McHenry County.

    Maybe if McHenry County gets a good house cleaning, other counties might follow, then we move on to the state.

    May God Bless you men who have taken a stand.

  8. I hope you did Scott; but one has to wonder why it took so long to bring your charges against the sheriff to the light of day?

    Why did it take a deposition, and not pressing the FBI to do more, or the State AG’s office, etc?

    If I, not in the know, thinks this, what would make someone else not think it too?

    All of what we’ve heard or read on these blogs seems to lend itself to this stuff having gone on for many years in the past, yet you did little or nothing until the deposition.

    Just makes some of us think twice.

  9. AZ- are you sure you do not write for the Northwest Herald?

    Your spin is very familiar.

  10. Wow, this stuff is scary.

    The underbelly of this county suggests a group of power brokers who will stop at nothing to maintain power and control. is it possible to root out and expose it?

    I see this groups influence from the Sheriff Office to the County Board to the Mental Health Board.

    Anyplace where there is a source of funds and this becomes now the interest of this group.

    I also ask why the FBI or outside authorities are not swooping down on this group.

    Thank you Mr. Milliman for such courage.

  11. Yep, scary is a good word, but creepy is another one I would add to the list.

    Kinda makes you wonder how Phil found himself in front of that moving Metra train.

    Just asking?

  12. Amen, another watcher!!

    I wonder why the NW bullish..I mean herald is not covering this trial as the truth comes out about the walrus.

    Maybe it took so long because the Walrus has lots of connections to help keep it quiet.

    Huh, AZSupporter??

  13. I say THANK YOU SCOTT MILLIMAN for standing up for what s right.

  14. Time to resign Keith and Zinke………

    Now you guys can become cell buddies with Pyle.

    Definitely by now, he has perfected the skill for cleaning toilettes and scrubbing floors with a toothbrush…..

    Stop dreaming about those millions of dollars because that money will go to the victims of your crimes………..

    Come on down time to play “Lets Make a Deal” “The Price is Right”

    Oh I’m sorry you have already been doing that………………

    Have to say though I don’t like walrus or drugs for that matter…..

    Still writing your memoirs, are you? “Corruption Mchenry County Style”…………….

  15. Even Walruses have to come up for air, some time.

    Don’t they?

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