GRIFFIN V. MARYLAND, 378 U. S. 130 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Griffin v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 130 (1964)

Griffin v. Maryland

No. 6

Argued November 5, 7, 1962

Restored to the calendar for reargument May 20, 1963

Reargued October 14-15, 1963

Decided June 22, 1964.

378 U.S. 130


Petitioners, who are Negroes, entered a privately owned amusement park which then had a policy of excluding Negroes. They were ordered to leave by a park employee who was instructed to enforce the racial policy and who was acting under his authority as a deputy sheriff. They refused to leave, and were arrested by the deputy sheriff and taken to the police station, where he filed charges of criminal trespass and secured warrants. Petitioners were tried and convicted of criminal trespass in a state court.


1. The action of an individual who, as a deputy sheriff possessing state authority, purports to act pursuant to that authority, is state action. It is immaterial that he could have taken the same action in a purely private capacity, or that his action was not authorized by state law. Screws v. United States, 325 U. S. 91, followed. P. 378 U. S. 135.

2. When a State undertakes to enforce a private policy of racial segregation, it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pennsylvania v. Board of Trusts, 353 U. S. 230, followed. Pp. 378 U. S. 135-137.

225 Md. 422, 171 A.2d 717, reversed.

Page 378 U. S. 131

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