Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Feiner v. New York case brief

Feiner v. New York case brief summary
340 U.S. 315 (1951)

Petitioner alleged inciter was convicted of the offense of disorderly conduct and sentenced to 30 days in the county penitentiary. The conviction was affirmed by the county court and the court of appeals. The case came before the Court on certiorari, the alleged inciter having claimed that the conviction was in violation of his right of free speech.

The alleged inciter claimed that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested for refusing to end a speech that had resulted in rioting by the audience.


  • The Court agreed with the lower courts that the police officers exercised proper discretionary power to prevent a breach of the peace. 
  • Though the alleged inciter's right to hold a street meeting was recognized, the Court noted that the inciter had made use of loud-speaking equipment in giving his speech, and made derogatory remarks concerning public officials and the American Legion. 
  • The court agreed that the officers, in making the arrest, were motivated solely by a proper concern for the preservation of order and protection of the general welfare, and that there was no evidence, which could lend color to a claim that the acts of the police were a cover for suppression of alleged inciter's views and opinions.


The Court affirmed the judgment of the lower courts.

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