A Florida medical examiner in a high-profile murder case has decided to file a wrongful termination case after he was dismissed from his job. The man, who had been working for Volusia County since 2011, argues that he was set up by prosecutors in connection with the murder case. The medical examiner was dismissed from his job after providing conflicting testimony about a victim’s 2012 shooting death.
The man reports that he lost his job on Sept. 6 because of alleged inconsistencies in his testimony during the murder case. He reports that he was called on to provide information at the trial, even though prosecutors had not properly briefed or prepared him for the questions that would be asked during the proceeding. In addition, the man had been deposed before the trial actually began, but he was not permitted to review his own answers to the prosecutors’ initial questions. As a result, he was forced to use his own notes from the case during the actual trial, which prompted outrage on the part of defense attorneys. Those lawyers aggressively demanded access to the man’s notes about the medical examination. In fact, the man was simply attempting to refresh his memory, since he had performed scores of medical examinations since the investigation in question.
Official reports show that the man was given 30 days to locate a medical examiner position at another office, which he declined to do. He was thus fired from his position after he refused to resign. The man plans to file a suit for wrongful termination, discrimination and job harassment in connection with the case.
Workers should not be singled out as targets because of their decision to provide accurate information during legal proceedings. Those employees who are required to testify should not fear for their jobs after they are deposed by prosecutors. Public servants and civilian employees should both enjoy protection under the law for providing honest testimony.
www.miamiherald.com, “Medical examiner in Zimmerman case fired” Kyle Hightower, Sep. 10, 2013