Appellant is the District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana. During a dispute with the eight judges of *65 the Criminal District Court of the Parish, he held a press conference at which he issued a statement disparaging their judicial conduct. As a result, he was tried without a jury before a judge from another parish and convicted of criminal defamation under the Louisiana Criminal Defamation Statute.[1] The principal charges alleged to *66 be defamatory were his attribution of a large backlog of pending criminal cases to the inefficiency, laziness, and excessive vacations of the judges, and his accusation that, by refusing to authorize disbursements to cover the expenses of undercover investigations of vice in New Orleans, the judges had hampered his efforts to enforce the vice laws. In impugning their motives, he said:

"The judges have now made it eloquently clear where their sympathies lie in regard to aggressive vice investigations by refusing to authorize use of the DA's funds to pay for the cost of closing down the Canal Street clip joints . . . .
.....
". . . This raises interesting questions about the racketeer influences on our eight vacation-minded judges."[2]
*67 The Supreme Court of Louisiana affirmed the conviction, 244 La. 787, 154 So. 2d 400. The trial court and the State Supreme Court both rejected appellant's contention that the statute unconstitutionally abridged his freedom of expression. We noted probable jurisdiction of the appeal. 375 U. S. 900. Argument was first heard in the 1963 Term, and the case was ordered restored to the calendar for reargument, 377 U. S. 986. We reverse.

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