Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adderley v. Florida case brief

Adderley v. Florida case brief summary
385 U.S. 39 (1966)

On certiorari, petitioners challenged a judgment from the District Court of Appeals of Florida, First District that convicted them of trespass with a malicious and mischievous intent upon the premises of the county jail, in violation of Fla. Stat. ch. 821.18. Petitioners claimed that their conviction denied them rights of free speech, assembly, petition, due process, and equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Several students were convicted for violating ch. 821.18 after they were arrested for demonstrating, on jailhouse grounds, against the arrest of other students who had been protesting against state and local policies and practices of racial segregation. After unsuccessful appeals, the Court granted certiorari to address their First and Fourteenth Amendment challenges to their conviction.


  • The Court rejected the claim that the statute was unconstitutionally vague, ruling it was clearly aimed at conduct of one limited kind, that is, trespass onto another's land with a malicious and mischievous intent. 
  • The Court then ruled that the students' prosecutions were not abated because a trespass could be prosecuted regardless of the fact that it was the means of protesting segregation of establishments covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 
  • The Court then ruled that the evidence, as established by the record and the students' own summary of the facts, support the jury's verdict of guilty. 
  • Finally, the Court ruled, because the state was authorized to preserve the property under its control for the use to which it is lawfully dedicated, the students' First Amendment rights were not violated.


The court affirmed the judgment. The state's trespass statute was not unconstitutionally vague because it clearly was limited to one type of conduct, the doctrine of abatement was inapplicable to their prosecutions, and the evidence, based upon the trial court's findings and their summary of the facts, was sufficient to support the conviction. The students' First Amendment rights were not violated by the state's attempt to preserve its property.

Suggested Study Aids and Books

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Evolution of Legal Marketing: From Billboards to Digital Leads Over the last couple of decades, the face of legal marketing has changed a l...