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Appeals court: Firing of Stillwater warden was within policy

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed an arbitrator's decision to reinstate the Stillwater prison warden who was fired after sending sexually-explicit emails.

The appeals court ruled Monday that Steven Hammer violated Department of Corrections policy, and the agency had just cause to fire him.

Hammer was fired in 2016 after allegations of sending lewd emails, sharing personnel data and other inappropriate behavior. Last year an arbitrator reinstated him, saying the Corrections Department lacked just cause to fire him. The arbitrator found he should have faced discipline first.

But the appeals court disagreed.

Hammer's attorney, Gregg Corwin, said the appeals court made its own findings of fact based on an unfair investigation, rather than accept the arbitrator's report. Corwin says it will be up to Hammer to decide if he'll appeal.