Stephen John Henry LLC
RANDY BALDWIN V. CITY OF SIMPSONVILLE
Two men were sentenced to serve weekend time at the Simpsonville city jail after having been convicted for driving under the influence. In early 1986 Lieutenant Randy Baldwin noticed that one of the men was not serving his time as ordered but instead had been signed in as if he had been there. This concerned Randy because it was not fair to the other DUI inmate who showed up every weekend and was serving his sentence.
When Randy noticed that his police chief had signed the missing man in he reported the matter to a member of the city’s police committee to find out what should be done. From the moment Randy told about the missing inmate, things changed for him.
In July 1986 Randy was demoted for breaking the chain of command and in March 1987 he was fired. He challenged both decisions and won before a grievance committee of his peers but the city administration upheld his demotion and firing. That was when Randy filed suit.
During the lawsuit it was discovered that the man who was allowed to skip some of his jail time was a textile executive and that when the man entered his guilty plea he had a character with him – the Simpsonville police chief! IT was no wonder that the man got a break on his jail time. It was also no wonder that Randy’s reporting of what he saw caused so much of a reaction by his superiors.
Randy’s suit claimed that he was demoted and fired in violation of his free speech rights. The jury found in his favor in February 1988 and in April of that year the federal judge reinstated him to the police department.
In an interesting twist of justice, in 1997, a much different Simpsonville city council announced a new police chief – Randy Baldwin!