BOUIE V. CITY OF COLUMBIA, 378 U. S. 347 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bouie v. City of Columbia, 378 U.S. 347 (1964)

Bouie v. City of Columbia

No. 10. Argued October 14-15, 1963

Decided June 22, 1964

378 U.S. 347


Petitioners, Negro "sit-in" demonstrators, entered a drugstore which extended service to Negroes at all departments except the restaurant department, and took seats in a restaurant booth without having received any notice that that department was barred to Negroes. They refused to leave upon being asked to do so, and were convicted of violating a South Carolina criminal trespass statute proscribing entry upon the lands of another after notice prohibiting such entry. Their convictions were affirmed by the State Supreme Court on the basis of a judicial construction of the statute, announced after the incident giving rise to these convictions, which construed the statute as applicable to the act of remaining on the premises of another after receiving notice to leave.

Held: The State Supreme Court, in giving retroactive application to its new construction of the statute, has deprived petitioners of their right to fair warning of a criminal prohibition, and thus has violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Pp. 378 U. S. 348-363.

339 S. C. 570, 124 S.E.2d 332, reversed.

Page 378 U. S. 348

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