Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Archives logo

Vol. IX, No. 3
April, 1964

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Police Practices

Does the Department of Justice screen mail going to a suspect and his attorney? See charges in Cohn, 302.23.

Was the FBI enjoined from following someone too closely on the golf course? See Giancana, 304.34.

And see verdicts for plaintiffs in damage suits against police, 51.8 and 304.20.


Is a request to city fathers for establishment of a biracial committee a "conspiracy to commit public intimidation"? See Louisiana v. Bell, 54.8.

Must a conscientious objector to war believe in a Supreme Being? Not in Seeger, 121.32.


How much is the damage to a candidate falsely called a Communist? See Goldmark, 61.25.

How great is the damage to a schoolteacher fired for refusing to answer questions about his political affiliations? See Mass, 342.4a.

How little is the damage to a City Commissioner from an ad describing bad race relations in his city? See New York Times v. Sullivan, 61.9.

How much does it cost to refuse housing accommodations to a tenant solely on the basis of race? In Berkeley, Calif., $1,750., see Mims, 533.54. In San Francisco, $1,250., see Thomas, 533.56. And see Diaman, 533.73. Does this explain the California initiative against Fair Housing legislation? See Lewis, 535.2.

Did You Know

. . . courts have ordered integration of teaching staffs? In Jacksonville, see Braxton, 522.Fla.7; in Lynchburg, see Jackson, 522.Va.24. . . . the ban on Communist Party speakers has been lifted in the State University of New York? See Egan, 24.21. And see ruling that Indiana University students were charged with sedition under an unconstitutional statute, in Levitt, 245.15.

. . . the Texas Rangers seized copies of Pope Pius' "Pacem in Terris" when raiding the bookstore of a McCarran Act respondent? See Stanford, 245.17. Meanwhile, a Columbus, Ohio ordinance prohibiting sale of Communist-made goods was held unconstitutional, in Miqdadi, 59.32.

. . . even the sea lions won't use the Greenville, S. C. swimming pool which the City turned over to them when ordered to desegregate it? The pool has sprung a leak. See Walker, 551.SC.5.

. . . the citizens who took the First Amendment many years ago before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities have been freed? See Shelton, 271.15; Grumman, 271.28; Silber, 271.29; Lehrer, 271.34.

Right to Counsel

The Supreme Court says that the lack of counsel prejudices a defendant to a degree which "can never be known". Alabama v. Hamilton, 372.14.

Can clients continue to find counsel to represent them? In Atlanta, Atty. Hollowell faces a contempt citation. See Jones, 58.12. In Jackson, Atty. Brown faces a contempt citation. See 373.14. In New Orleans, Attys. Smith and Waltzer face criminal charges for membership in a bar association and a civil rights organization. See 245.16. Why were they the only attorneys prepared to represent a Negro client in Hattiesburg, Miss.? See Lefton, 73.1.

Sitting-In in San Francisco

The recent arrest of 1,000 persons for sitting-in at Mel's Drive-In, the Sheraton-Palace Hotel and the Cadillac agencies has already cost the City of San Francisco one million dollars in extra court costs as the defendants are tried (and retired), in groups of 10. See 58.15-58.18, 63.16, 401.10. Some legal questions seem to recur in these cases:

Is it against public policy for district attorneys to use peremptory challenges on every Negro called to sit on a jury?

Can defendants receive a speedy, fair trial immediately after leading government officials have issued statements that defendants are guilty and should be punished?

Should defendants accept an agreement that some or all charges will be dismissed against some or all defendants upon entry of guilty pleas and sentences involving a probationary period in which there shall be no participation in civil rights demonstrations?

Must nolo contendere pleas and convictions in civil rights cases be listed on job application forms? Will they make it more difficult to get hired?

What is reasonable bail for a charge of disorderly conduct or trespass against a student or youth who believes his sitting-in was part of an effort to enforce the state Fair Employment Practices Act? What social purpose is served by fining or imprisoning such a citizen?

What is disorderly conduct? What is the legal status of civil disobedience in a state with a public policy opposing all racial discrimination?

What about a jury verdict acquitting some and convicting other defendants against whom the evidence is identical?

Is it contemptuous for students to study in court in preparation for final exams when they have been directed to attend every session of their misdemeanor trials, though state law does not require their presence?

What kinds of remarks and conduct provide a basis for a motion to disqualify a judge?

Perhaps the most common question of all should be stated last:

How can a practitioner agree to represent defendants in a civil rights case, spend the necessary time to prepare for trial and to try the case, and simultaneously continue to represent clients whose fees will pay his overhead?