The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Waldo Ackerman, Chief Judge.
This case concerns Plaintiff's claim that Defendants have
prohibited his speech in violation of his constitutional
rights. Both parties have filed motions for summary judgment.
In October of 1981, there was a public debate over ambulance
services in Champaign County. The sheriff of Champaign County
(Defendant Brown) was privately lobbying local governments to
regulate ambulance rates. Apparently, this lobbying effort was
not revealed to the general public or other members of the
sheriff's department. On November 9, 1982, Plaintiff wrote a
letter to a local paper endorsing the services of a particular
ambulance service. The letter described the Plaintiff as
impressed with the services of the ambulance service, and it
described the ambulance service's equipment as "second to
none." The letter identified Plaintiff as a ten year veteran
of the Champaign County Sheriff's Department. This letter was
published in the November 9th edition of the Champaign-Urbana
On November 16, 1982, Plaintiff was issued an official
letter of reprimand. The letter of reprimand stated
Plaintiff's conduct, in writing the November 9th letter, was
in conflict with Sheriff Department Standards 2.19 and 4.4.
The letter explained the need for the sheriff's department to
maintain an appearance of impartiality in its relations with
ambulance services. After Plaintiff requested that Defendant
Brown remove the letter of reprimand from his personnel file,
Defendant Brown contacted the Champaign County State's
Attorney's office for an opinion on the propriety of his
actions. The assistant state's attorney, after researching the
issue, opined that she could not definitely ascertain the
legality or illegality of the sheriff's action. Defendants
reprimanded Plaintiff even though there was no actual
disruption in the operation of the sheriff's department or
damage to its morale.
On December 4, 1981, the sheriff's department amended its
rules of conduct to prohibit certain political activity. Rule
of Conduct 4-5 states:
Officers shall not actively engage in political
party affairs or political campaigns.
While Plaintiff's conduct has not been officially criticized
for violating this rule, he seeks a ruling that it is an
unconstitutional infringement on his First Amendment rights.
There are three issues to be resolved at the summary
judgment stage of this litigation. One, the constitutionality
of Defendants' actions in reprimanding Plaintiff's conduct.
Two, the availability of injunctive relief against pending
sheriff department rules and standards. Three, the
availability of a good faith immunity defense for the
Plaintiff was disciplined for violating Standards 2.19B and
4.4B (currently these dictates are labeled Rules of Conduct
2-27(c) and 4-4(b), respectively). Rule of Conduct 2-27(c)
Use of name, photograph or title: Officers shall
not authorize the use of their names,
photographs, or official titles which identify
them as officers, in connection with testimonials
or advertisements of any commodity or commercial
enterprise, without the written approval of the
Rule of Conduct 4-4(b) states:
When acting as representatives of the department,
officers shall receive approval from the sheriff
before they address public gatherings, appear on
radio or television, prepare any articles for
publication, act as correspondents to a newspaper
or periodical release, or divulge investigative
information or any other matters of the
department. Officers may lecture on police or
other related subjects only with the prior
approval of the sheriff.
Plaintiff contends that the application of these rules is an
unconstitutional infringement on his ...