Case Overview

Legal Principle at Issue

Whether 1st and 14th Amendment freedoms give students the right to engage in peaceful protests on jailhouse grounds.


Affirmed (includes modified). Petitioning party did not receive a favorable disposition.


1963- On September 14, approximately 200 black and white demonstrators were arrested while picketing and protesting outside a segregated movie theater in downtown Tallahassee, FL.

Later that night, in an act of solidarity with those who had been imprisoned, 99 Florida A & M students gathered in the driveway of the Leon County Jailhouse. The students sang and clapped until the sheriff ordered them to disperse. Over 100 students refused the order and were charged with violating Florida code section 821.18. Thirty-two students were subsequently convicted.

Section 821.18 reads: "Every trespass upon the property of another, committed with a malicious and mischievous intent, the punishment of which is not specially provided for, shall be punished by imprisonment not exceeding three months, or by fine not exceeding one hundred dollars." Fla. Stat. 821.18 (1965).

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