Jeffrey Heffernan Case

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Jeffrey Heffernan, who worked as a cop in Paterson, New Jersey, was demoted, or given a lower rank, from detective to a foot post in 2005 by the police chief. When an election for mayor was held, Joey Torres ran against Lawrence Spagnola. Because Heffernan’s mother was bedridden and her first campaign yard sign got stolen, Heffernan helped his mother pick up another one. Another police officer, serving as Torres’s bodyguard, saw Heffernan with a Spagnola yard sign. Immediately, the news spread to Paterson Police Department, where Torres had the support of the head police chief. As a result, Heffernan was degraded from detective to foot patrol. Later, he sued the department for demoting him. He claims that he just helped his mother pick up a yard sign. In 2009 Heffernan won a reward of $105,000. However, the judge later changed his decision. This U.S. Court of Appeals established a decision, which was in favor of Paterson, in January 2015. The dispute has been carried to the Supreme Court, and Heffernan’s lawyers are asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the U.S. Court of Appeals’s decision. By the end of June, the Supreme Court may have their decision. This happened mainly because of a misinterpretation between the head chief and Heffernan. …show more content…

If Heffernan actually supported Spagnola, then a degrading him as a retaliation would not have been allowed because he was expressing his opinion, which is allowed by the First Amendment. A better solution would be for Heffernan to discuss with the police chief about what actually was happening. Heffernan should have clarified the situation, rather than leaving the chief of the police with the wrong impression. He could have had a meeting with the chief and his mother, who may have helped explain that her son was just helping her pick up a

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