Suwannee Democrat

Suwannee Democrat

May 25, 2010

UPDATE: Prosecutor fired for Tea Party talks

Not a First Amendment issue, says Jarvis

Live Oak — An assistant state attorney for the Live Oak-based Third Judicial Circuit was fired Monday for speaking at Tea Party rallies and to other groups, according to Third Judicial Circuit State Attorney Skip Jarvis.

Jarvis said he revoked KrisAnne Hall's appointment as an assistant state attorney at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Hall, a Suwannee County resident, worked out of Hamilton County.

He said he felt bad for letting her go since she was "the only breadwinner in her household" but had "no other choice."

"She was speaking at some political events, some things were anti-state and anti-government," Jarvis said by phone Tuesday morning. "I emailed her and said look you can't do that as an assistant state attorney. Our client is the state of Florida."

Hall framed the question differently.

"I was told I could speak about the Constitution openly or keep my job," she said by phone Tuesday. "I chose the Constitution."

Hall filed a complaint Friday with the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, asking a judge to allow her to continue speaking at the events and to protect her from being fired. Jarvis said he received the complaint in the mail Monday but was never properly served.

Hall said in her complaint that she spoke at gatherings of several local groups, including the Suwannee Republican Executive Committee, area Tea Party meetings, a meeting of the 9/12 organization and radio programs. She also said that she "spoke at all of those engagements as a private citizen and not as an employee of the State Attorney's Office."

Hall told Jarvis in an April email that she felt her right to free speech was being threatened and wanted clarification.

"Are you telling me that I must surrender my First Amendment right to free speech, when it obviously does not hinder my work and or harm my employer in any way, I think the Supreme Court might find exception to that," she wrote.

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