YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST: NJPA President Patrick Colligan today urged a state judge to hold accountable a law clerk who accused a State Police trooper killed when his cruiser struck a deer of recklessness while expressing sympathy for the “family who lost a mommy or daddy or baby deer.”
NEWSBREAK: “Superior Court Judge Travis Francis has accepted the resignation of Leslie Anderson, effective immediately,” Winnie Comfort of the New Jersey State Judiciary announced just after 5 p.m. today.
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Leslie Anderson “was not an ordinary citizen with the absolute right to freedom of speech,” Colligan wrote to Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Travis L. Francis. “This is a well-educated graduate of law school that should have understood and respected the limitations of her position and the trust our citizens must have in the Judiciary.”
Colligan sent copies to New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and NJ State Troopers Fraternal Association President Christopher Burgos.
Francis yesterday suspended Anderson for two weeks with pay pending the outcome of an investigation into the posts on the News 12 New Jersey Facebook page about this past Saturday’s death of NJSP Trooper Anthony Raspa.
The suspension followed an outcry from the law enforcement community and their supporters, who captured screen shots and shared them with New Jersey media and others ( SEE: Suspension, investigation for judge’s clerk who called NJ state trooper’s death ‘not that sad, certainly not tragic’ ).
The FULL TEXT of Colligan’s letter:
June 3, 2015
The Honorable Travis L. Francis
Middlesex County Courthouse
56 Paterson St.
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-0964
Dear Judge Francis:
As a Police Officer, I have taken a sworn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Although I may not always agree with someone’s statement made under our 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech, thankfully and gratefully our forefathers made it one of the cornerstones of our great nation and I will never waver in defending it.
I made a decision in life, as I know you did, to choose a vocation. I know we both share a love for our professions and we have both served honorably and professionally. Unfortunately, our chosen paths in life restrict some of the freedoms our fellow citizens enjoy and that we swore to defend.
Our private thoughts and things we may want to say are restricted by the very oath we both took. We are naturally held to a higher standard and we both understand and respect the restrictions imposed on us.
As an officer with well over 20 years of service, regrettably I am very seldom shocked at individual human behavior.
Leslie Anderson, your law clerk and a (previously) trusted employee within our State’s Judiciary, made some choices recently that are beyond reprehensible. Quite frankly, they are statements that actually shock the moral conscious. Her statements are well known by now and they will not disgrace our letterhead.
As outrageous as her statements were, it is more stunning that a supposedly educated person made these not only in a very public and open forum but likely made them while she was working. Anderson can’t even say it was a temporary lapse in good judgement. She responded repeatedly over a period of time!
Some choices we make in life deserve a second chance and some do not. Unfortunately, Leslie Anderson must be held accountable for her conscious and deliberate breach of the public trust in our Judiciary and the awesome responsibilities the position entails.
This was not an ordinary citizen with the absolute right to freedom of speech. This is a well-educated graduate of law school that should have understood and respected the limitations of her position and the trust our citizens must have in the Judiciary.
I am personally ashamed that the Raspa family has to endure this horrible postscript after the tragic loss of Anthony Raspa. Anthony is a man we all now know had incredible integrity, was a well-respected citizen, accomplished athlete, and a very proud and brave State Trooper. Unlike Leslie Anderson, his service to our State personified the motto of the New Jersey State Police; it was one of Honor, Duty and Fidelity. May he now rest in peace.
Very truly yours,
CC: Chief Justice Rabner, NJ Supreme Court
President Christopher Burgos, State Troopers Fraternal Association
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