A Brooklyn prosecutor demoted because he angered his boss can collect a $30,000 jury award against District Attorney Charles J. Hynes, reports the New York Times. Ex-prosecutor Robert Reuland, who has become a novelist, won the award when a federal jury found that Hynes demoted Reuland over a comment he had made in a magazine interview. Reuland, promoting a novel “Hollowpoint” in 2001, told New York magazine that it was good to be a homicide prosecutor in Brooklyn because “we’ve got more dead bodies per square inch than anyplace else.”
Reuland said his free-speech rights had been violated by the demotion. Lawyers for the city maintained that the statement would not qualify for First Amendment protection if he had intended merely to promote his novel. Hynes, who has campaigned on a platform of lowering crime, protested that Reuland’s comment was not true.