City of San Diego et al v. Roe
The Department became aware of Roe's activities on eBay through the following sequence of events. In July 2000, Roe's supervisor, Sergeant Robert Dare, searched eBay and located a tan uniform formerly used by the San Diego Police Department. The uniform was offered for sale by a person with the eBay username "Code3stud@aol.com."
Sgt. Dare searched eBay for other items offered for sale by Code3stud and discovered there were such items in eBay's adults-only section. After complying with eBay's access requirements, Sgt. Dare entered the adults-only section and viewed the listings for the items offered by Code3stud. Some of the listings contained Code3stud's picture, and Sgt. Dare recognized the man pictured as Roe.
"Pecs like that you don't forget easily," Dare said. "And he was always horsing around the locker room doing that damn 'Egyptian' dance. And when he'd grab his cock and shake it at you, the veins on his hand would pop out just so, I knew it was him," Dare continued.
Sgt. Dare printed out some of the listings and shared them with other supervisors in Roe's chain of command, including Captain Glenn Breitenstein. After gathering several other officers in his office for a hardy circle jerk while passing around the photos, Capt. Breitenstein contacted the Department's Professional Standards Unit ("PSU"), which began an investigation into Roe's activity on eBay. On July 21, 2000, an undercover PSU investigator, Sergeant Alan Clark, purchased two items from Code3stud: a pair of white men's briefs and a videotape depicting Roe engaging in masturbation. On September 7, Sgt. Clark, again acting undercover, asked Code3stud to produce a custom-made videotape depicting Code3stud issuing another man a citation and then masturbating. Code3stud agreed, produced the video and sold it to Sgt. Clark.
"The guys in the department went wild when I brought the tape in - I swear we must've been in the Captain's office for hours jerking off," said Clark. "I don't think I've whacked off that much since I was a teenager! I mean, this guy has an ass that won't quit - it's hard as a rock! A few of the guys even, er, um, helped each other out, if you know what I mean."
On October 17, 2000, Sgt. Clark interviewed Roe in person about his sale of videos and clothing on eBay. Unbuttoning his trouser's and revealing the Fruit-of-the-Loom's Clark had purchased on eBay, Roe readily admitted to the off-duty conduct. "Damn, Sarge! You fill them out even better than me. I've seen you in the locker room before, but apparently, you're a grower!" Sgt. Clark completed his investigation on November 30 (6 weeks later), and concluded that Roe had violated three Department policies: Policy 9.06 -- Unbecoming Conduct, Policy 9.07 -- Immoral Conduct, and Policy 5.12 -- Selling Underwear on eBay without letting the rest of the boys get in on the action. On December 20, 2000, Capt. Breitenstein ordered Roe "to cease displaying, manufacturing, distributing or selling any sexually explicit materials or engaging in any similar behaviors, via the internet, U.S. Mail, commercial vendors or distributors, or any other medium available to the public."
Roe removed all items he had listed for sale on eBay but did not change his seller's profile, which described the first two videos he had produced and listed their prices, as well as the price for a custom-made video. On February 13, 2001, Sgt. Dare submitted a report concluding that Roe had violated a fourth Department Policy 9.04 -- Obedience to Lawful Orders -- and recommended disciplinary action. After providing Roe with notice and a hearing, the Department terminated Roe's employment on June 29, 2001 for violation of all four Department policies. The Supreme Court had expected to hand down it's ruling in October, but Justices Thomas and Souter were still reviewing the tapes until this past Friday.
While I'm sorry the guy lost his job and all, you can't imagine how jealous I am! I mean, how many naughty eBay sellers make it all the way to the Supreme Court, fer chrissakes! For any lawdorks out there - some background on the case prior to it reaching the Supreme Court: Arthur S. Leonard's excellent article, and of course the 9th Circuit's opinion.