A county prosecutor was justified in firing an assistant prosecutor who met behind his back with a judge about problems caused by the prosecutor’s no-plea-bargain policy, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on June 26.

The court, in Johnson v. Yurick, 01-3598, affirmed a grant of summary judgment to Andrew Yurick II, who as Gloucester County prosecutor forced the resignation of his first assistant, Keith Johnson, in August 1998. The stated reason for his action was Johnson’s December 1997 meeting with Judge Joseph Lisa, the vicinage’s presiding criminal judge, to discuss ways of alleviating a backlog in criminal cases.