A lawsuit in which a former magistrate in Virginia’s court system alleges she was improperly fired now is moving forward.
That after a ruling from District Judge Patricia Tolliver that the plaintiff, Elizabeth Fuller, “sufficiently alleged” a First Amendment violation by the Office of the Executive Secretary of Magistrate Services in the state.
The case is being handled by Judicial Watch, which has been working with Fuller since she was dismissed from her position in 2021.
She had commented to the Alexandria Times about the publicly available result of a complaint she had filed against a bondsman, Man Nguyen.
Her comments, the judge found, “facially concern a matter of public interest. [Fuller’s] comments concerned the murder of Ms. Dominguez, which had received media attention and ‘fueled public debate about lenient law enforcement and bail practices in the Commonwealth of Virginia and nationwide.’ Ms. Dominguez’s murder was even discussed by then-Virginia Delegate, now Virginia Attorney General, Jason Miyares during a floor debate on bail reform in the Virginia General Assembly. In her comments to the Alexandria Times, [Fuller] appeared to express her discontentment with the actions of Bouaichi, Nguyen, and the Circuit Court Judge, and her belief that Ms. Dominguez’s death was ‘entirely preventable if anybody in the process had been doing their job effectively.’”
The background is that in 2020 Ibrahm Elkahi Bouaichi was arrested and indicted by a grand jury for burglary with the intent to commit murder, abduction, sodomy, strangulation, and rape of Karla Elizabeth Dominguez Gonzalez.
Even though the charges were serious, the circuit court released Bouaichi on a $25,000 bond and within four months, he was accused of driving to Dominguez’ resident in Alexandria and shooting and killing her.
Shortly, Fuller learned from police that the vehicle and gun used in the attack were owned by a surety bail bondsman, Nguyen, and he had been talking about that fact that Bouaichi had been living in his home, and using his gun and car.
Fuller then, in her personal capacity, filed a complaint that resulted in Nguyen’s surety bail bond license being revoked.
“Fuller understood that this concluded the matter,” the report said.
Then a year later, the news publication dug out the details of the incident and asked her for comment. Her comments included the evidence from the police officer on Nguyen’s comments and her desire to “do something.”
She, then, was accused of violating ethics rules by talking about a case.
Judicial Watch explained, however, that those limits don’t apply to comments made about a filing made in her personal capacity, and her speech on the issue was constitutionally protected.
“Simply put, Ms. Fuller embarrassed Virginia officials over their deadly soft-on-crime bail policies. As the court noted, our client commented on a serious public safety matter of widespread public interest,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The lawsuit will now proceed to discovery and we hope, ultimately, to trial.”
This article was originally published by the WND News Center.
This post originally appeared on WND News Center.