Richard Ceballos, the Los Angeles prosecutor who lost a U.S. Supreme Court case this week limiting whistle-blower rights, told the Los Angeles Times the ruling will dampen prosecutors’ willingness to speak out about corrupt police officers. Ceballos, 42, said he found the Supreme Court’s decision disheartening – for his own career and for all public employees. Ceballos still works for the district attorney, though he says he is persona non grata among some top managers. “It strikes a blow for all government employees and creates a disincentive to report corruption, misconduct, waste and fraud that we come across in our work,” he said.
Ceballos sued Los Angeles County, contending that supervisors in the district attorney’s office tolerated misconduct by sheriff’s deputies and retaliated by demoting him for writing a memo alleging that deputies may have lied to obtain a search warrant. The Supreme Court said that while government employees have the same rights as other citizens to speak out on the controversies of the day, they do not have the right to speak freely inside their offices on matters related to their “official duties.” The message, Ceballos said, is “Keep quiet. Keep your mouth shut.”