Lance Salyers update

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UPDATE (10/25/2005): Lance has taken a hiatus from blogging and taken down his blog for the time being. Unfortunately, shortly after he took his blog off the net, a spammer grabbed the blog name in order to take advantage of its high page rank, so I've had to remove links to his old blog. (You can read about this newfound method of junking up the Internet here.) When Lance returns to the blogosphere, I'll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, you can still listen to the radio interview with Lance, linked below.

UPDATE (12/13/2005): The spam blog was deleted, and his old blog address is back in safe hands, although Google is still caching the spam blog home page. I'm restoring the links in hopes that Google's bots will pick up the new, blank page.

Last week, I told you about Lance Salyers, a blogger who was fired from his job as a prosecutor in Dayton, Ohio, because a colleague recognized herself in an obscurely-written entry he posted on his blog about cowardice, was offended, and set about to get him fired. The colleague in question had declined to prosecute a case involving a violent crime, but was overruled by a panel of prosecutors which included Lance.

Lance will be on the radio today at 11 a.m. Central Time (noon Eastern) on a legal talk show on Dayton's WHIO 1290. You can listen live over the Internet.

UPDATE: I captured the audio of the show, and have uploaded the segments of the show where they spoke to Lance, in MP3 format, in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Part 1 was toward the beginning of the show, then the hosts took listener questions about a variety of topics. One question was directed to Lance -- that's part 2. Part 3 contains most of the discussion about Lance's firing. Unfortunately, I set the timer to cut off recording right at the top of the hour and I missed a bit of the end.)

Earlier this week, Lance responded on his blog to those who argue that he deserved firing, responding particularly to the notion that his blog entry amounted to giving the Montgomery County (Ohio) Prosecutor's Office a public black eye. As I pointed out, Lance had never mentioned where he worked on his blog or anywhere else on the Internet, and Lance says that this was acknowledged when he was fired:

They were not worried about somebody outside the office reading what I wrote because, I was told, "You're right: nobody out in the public is going to read this and know what you're talking about at all." Their problem was that people inside the office read it and knew what I was upset about.

The scary reality is that, when you click the "Publish" button, anyone might read your words, conclude that you're writing about him or her, take offense, and take action. This could happen even if you weren't thinking of the offended party when you wrote. Some people are so skilled at reading between the lines that they see things that aren't there. In some cases, what a reader sees may convict him of his own weaknesses, flaws, and sin, but rather than recognize the voice of conscience working through your words, he casts you as an attacker and seeks to retaliate against the person who (however inadvertently) made him feel bad about himself.

(NOTE: If you are reading this and think that I am writing about you, please be assured that I am not. Is that clear?)

Some people, and evidently Lance's former colleague is one of them, seem to be looking for opportunities to take offense, and if such a person has the ability to hurt your career -- well, that's a risk we take when we publish our opinions.

Lance isn't crying about the injustice of it all. He's busy praying about and preparing for the next steps for his family and his career. But as a part of moving on with his career, he must and will defend against the charge that he was fired for unprofessional behavior.

The only unprofessionalism I see in the situation belongs to two people: The first is the unnamed prosecutor who took such offense to being overruled and felt convicted of her own insecurities when she read Lance's words. The second is Mathias Heck Jr., the Montgomery County Prosecutor, who set aside process and proportion to get rid of Lance, thus depriving his constituents of an able and energetic prosecutor. (You can read Lance's performance reviews, which are linked from his home page.) (See UPDATE at the top of the page.)

This is a bit of pure speculation, based on years of observation of local government machinations around here: Is the defendant in the case in question politically connected? Was the prosecutor who initially declined the case told to "throw the fight" by her superiors? A guilty conscience from complying with such a request might explain the hypersensitivity to what Lance wrote. Lance was successful in persuading his fellow panel members to prosecute -- did this inadvertently upset some well-laid plans? If I were a Montgomery County resident, I'd hope that someone is digging into this story. (UPDATE: Lance responds to this point in the comments.)

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» BatesLine Has The Audio from Ragged Edges

I received an email today from my newest blogging friend, Michael Bates over at BatesLine. Not only has he written another post about me and my situation, but he recorded my appearance on the radio today and has posted the MP3 files on his site. Read More


Lance said:

Michael -

Thanks for the continued coverage. One thing: I'm quite sure that the original handling of the case in question had nothing to do with the suspect being "politically connected." Of course, that means my firing makes even LESS sense . . .

God Bless.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 10, 2005 7:30 AM.

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