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Supreme Court Holds Demonstrators May Be Arrested for Trespassing Jail Grounds

by Matt Clarke

On November 14, 1966, the Supreme Court of the United States held that demonstrators may be arrested for protesting on jail property.

A group of about 200 students were protesting on a nonpublic jail driveway and adjacent jail grounds, blocking access to the jail. The sheriff told them they were trespassing on county property and ordered them to disperse. 107 did not and were arrested for "trespass with a malicious and mischievous intent."

32 who were convicted and whose convictions were upheld in the state courts petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari. The court granted the writ, then upheld the convictions. The court noted that the jail was built for security purposes and was not open to the public, the trespass statute was not unconstitutionally vague, the doctrine of abatement did not apply, petty criminal statutes were not being used to violate minorities' constitutional rights and there was no evidence that petitioners were arrested or convicted for their views or objectives. See: Adderly v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966).



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Related legal case

Adderly v. Florida