In the last 12 months, more than 1,500 people submitted cases to FIRE when their rights were in jeopardy.

Hear their stories — and how we're fighting back — by subscribing today.

First Amendment Library:
Anthony G. Amsterdam


A jury in Baltimore City Criminal Court convicted petitioners of violating Md. Ann. Code, Art. 27, § 123 (1967 Repl. Vol.),[1] which prohibits "acting in a disorderly manner to the disturbance of the public peace, upon any public street . . . in any [Maryland] city . . . ."[2] The *565 prosecution arose out of a demonstration protesting the Vietnam war which was staged between 3 and shortly after 5 o'clock on the afternoon of March 28, 1966, in front of a United States Army recruiting station located on a downtown Baltimore street. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals rejected petitioners' contention that their conduct was constitutionally protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and affirmed their convictions. 3 Md. App. 626, 240 A. 2d 623 (1968). The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied certiorari in an unreported order. We granted certiorari, 396 U. S. 816 (1969). We reverse.