276 F.3d 980 (8th Cir. 2001), 00-3776, Speer v. City of Wynne

Docket Nº:00-3776, No. 00-3777
Citation:276 F.3d 980
Party Name:ROGER D. SPEER, APPELLEE, v. CITY OF WYNNE, ARKANSAS, APPELLANT. ROGER D. SPEER, APPELLANT, v. DANNY GLOVER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, APPELLEE.
Case Date:September 14, 2001
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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276 F.3d 980 (8th Cir. 2001)

ROGER D. SPEER, APPELLEE,

v.

CITY OF WYNNE, ARKANSAS, APPELLANT.

ROGER D. SPEER, APPELLANT,

v.

DANNY GLOVER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, APPELLEE.

No. 00-3776, No. 00-3777

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

September 14, 2001

January 14, 2002

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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M. Keith Wren, Little Rock, AR, for appellant.

John Wesley Hall, Little Rock, AR, for appellee Speer.

Wendy K. Michaelis, Little Rock, AR, for appellee Glover.

Before Mcmillian, Beam, and Hansen, Circuit Judges.

Hansen, Circuit Judge

Roger D. Speer filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the City of Wynne, Arkansas (City), the City's mayor, James Green, and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Danny Glover violated his procedural due process right to a name-clearing hearing. The district court granted summary judgment to Prosecutor Glover and, following a bench trial, entered judgment against the City but in favor of Mayor Green. The City appeals the district court's judgment in favor of Speer, and Speer cross-appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment to the deputy prosecutor. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further findings of fact and conclusions of law.

I.

The material facts are not in dispute. Lieutenant Speer was a long-time police officer in the Wynne Police Department in Cross County, Arkansas. During a 1996 investigation into charges that the Cross County Sheriff's Department was misusing prisoners, Susan Combs, a Cross County jail detainee, alleged that Lieutenant Speer had engaged in sexual acts with detainees in exchange for favors such as reduced jail time and reduced fines. Deputy Prosecutor Glover learned of the allegations against Speer and asked the Arkansas state police to conduct an investigation into them. During the ensuing investigation, Denise Hill similarly reported that Lieutenant Speer had sex with Combs and Christy Hubbard, another Cross County jail detainee, in exchange for various favors. Ms. Hill also alleged that Lieutenant Speer had propositioned her for sex in exchange for her early release from jail.

Mayor Green, Police Chief Lynne Rodgers, Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long, and Deputy Prosecutor Glover, held a meeting on April 17, 1997, to discuss the allegations against Lieutenant Speer and the completed investigation. Long and Glover informed the city officials that they would not prosecute Lieutenant Speer for various reasons. The group then discussed the appropriate employment action to be taken against Lieutenant Speer. Chief Rodgers reluctantly terminated Speer's employment with the department later that same day.

After Speer's discharge, a reporter with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper contacted both Mayor Green and Deputy Prosecutor Glover to discuss the investigation and the employment action taken

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against Speer. The following article was published in the April 19, 1997, edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Wynne Officer out, won't face charges from investigation

By Sandy Davis Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

WYNNE - A Wynne policeman was fired this week over allegations of sexual misconduct while on the job, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Danny Glover said.

Glover said that he and Prosecuting Attorney Fletcher Long of Forrest City recommended to city officials that Lt. Roger Speer, a criminal investigator with the department, be fired after they reviewed the results of an Arkansas State Police criminal investigation.

Glover said the allegations against Speer concern the officer trading sex with female suspects for favors. He said at least one of the females was an inmate in the county jail.

"Mr. Long and I looked at filing criminal charges against him, but in the end we decided we couldn't," Glover said. "So, our recommendation was to tell the city to handle it. Our preference was that he be fired."

Glover said there were three allegations that were investigated.

"One of them we didn't feel like was a crime," Glover said of why no charges were filed. "Another one, we believed the statute of limitations had expired, and on the third one, it was one of those where we questioned whether we could meet our burden of proof. The victim's credibility could be questioned because of her extensive criminal history."

Glover said the investigation into the department was continuing.

"Until then, I'm not going to comment on the specifics," he said.

Glover said he had provided Wynne Police Chief Lynn Rodgers with a copy of the investigative file.

Rodgers could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Wynne Mayor Bud Green said Friday that Speer was fired Thursday.

"As I understand it, the investigation is over with," he said. "I looked at the investigative file and Speer was the only one they were looking at."

Green, who has been mayor two years, said he did not know how long Speer had been a police officer.

"The allegations against him were not from recent events," Green said. "As I understand it, they all happened some time ago. They all happened long before I was mayor."

(J.A. at 199.)

Speer filed this § 1983 action less than a week after the article...

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