ADDERLY V. FLORIDA, 385 U. S. 39 (1966)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Adderly v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39 (1966)

Adderly v. Florida


Argued October 18, 1966

Decided November 14, 1966

385 U.S. 39


Petitioners, 32 students, were members of a group of about 200 who on a nonpublic jail driveway, which they blocked, and on adjacent county jail premises had, by singing, clapping, and dancing, demonstrated against their schoolmates' arrest and perhaps against segregation in the jail and elsewhere. The sheriff, the jail's custodian, advised them that they were trespassing on county property and would have to leave or be arrested. The 107 demonstrators refusing to depart were thereafter arrested and convicted under a Florida trespass statute for "trespass with a malicious and mischievous intent." Petitioners contend that their convictions, affirmed by the Florida Circuit Court and the District Court of Appeal, deprived them of their "rights of free speech, assembly, petition, due process of law and equal protection of the laws" under the Fourteenth Amendment.


1. The Florida trespass statute, here applied to a demonstration on the premises of a jail, which is built for security purposes and is not open to the public, is aimed at conduct of a limited kind, and is not unconstitutionally vague, as were the common law breach of the peace statutes invalidated in Edwards v. South Carolina, 372 U. S. 229, and Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U. S. 536, 379 U. S. 559. Pp. 385 U. S. 41-43.

2. The doctrine of abatement is inapplicable here. Hamm v. City of Rock Hill, 379 U. S. 306, distinguished. P. 385 U. S. 43.

3. The abstract proposition that petty criminal statutes may not be used to violate minorities' constitutional rights is irrelevant to this case. P. 385 U. S. 44.

4. There was ample evidence to support petitioners' trespass convictions for remaining on jail grounds reserved for jail uses after they had been directed to leave by the sheriff. There was no evidence at all that petitioners were arrested or convicted for their views or objectives. Pp. 385 U. S. 44-48.

175 So.2d 249, affirmed.

Page 385 U. S. 40

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