An Arizona police department had the right to fire a police officer who made and sold "vulgar and indecent" sex videos in which he performs with his wife, a U.S. appeals court ruled.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday that Ronald Dible had engaged in "sleazy activities" and ruled that a lower court had properly dismissed Dible's claims that the Chandler, Arizona, police department infringed his First Amendment rights to free speech by firing him.
Dible lost his job in 2002 after the Chandler police department learned he was running a sexually explicit Web site featuring him and wife, Megan, which they operated to make money.
"We have not yet abandoned our social codes to the point that a city can be sanctioned for violating a police officer's First Amendment rights when he causes disrespect of the police department and its members by performing in and purveying pictures of his and his wife's sexually explicit activities over the Internet," Judge Ferdinand Fernandez wrote for a three-judge panel.
"Ronald Dible may have the constitutional right to run his sex-oriented business but he has no constitutional right to be a policeman for the city at the same time.
"The law and their own safety demands that they be given a degree of respect, and the sleazy activities of Ronald and Megan Dible could not help but undermine that respect.
"His activities were simply vulgar and indecent."