A Kansas Attorney was fired Monday over a tweet she sent calling the former Kansas Attorney General a “douchebag,” sparking debate again over conduct on social media sites and how it affects employment.
The attorney fired over a tweet is Sarah Peterson Herr, a research attorney for a Kansas Court of Appeals judge. After sending the controversial tweet Herr said she believed was privacy locked and visible only to a certain audience, the lawyer was suspended with pay late Friday.
Speaking after the suspension, the attorney fired over the tweet said:
“I didn’t stop to think that in addition to communicating with a few of my friends on Twitter I was also communicating with the public at large, which was not appropriate for someone who works for the court system.”
Herr was referencing former Attorney General Phill Kline, tweeting as Kline was appearing before the Kansas Supreme Court in the course of an ethics investigation. In one tweet, now either deleted or inaccessible, Herr said:
“Why is Phil Klein [sic] smiling? There is nothing to smile about, douchebag.”
In another, Herr predicted that Kline would be disbarred for seven years following the investigation.
A lawyer representing Kline commented on the attorney’s firing over the tweet, in remarks that read as a bit condescending in regards to the age and gender of Herr:
“I have no interest in insulting any judge or justice in that courthouse who is prepared to be fair and objective as it relates to Phill Kline … But the bigger question has always been what kind of atmosphere prevails in the back rooms of the high courts of Kansas that would make a young lady like that so comfortable to tweet those kinds of comments in those circumstances.”
Next they’ll be voting and driving cars!
Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss confirmed Monday that the young attorney had indeed been fired over the tweet, and that she herself may be subject to ethics investigation over the Twitter incident.