Bailey v. Alabama

Facts of the Case

Defendant sought review of a judgment from the Supreme Court of the State of Alabama, which upheld the constitutionality of Ala. Code § 4730 and affirmed a conviction. Defendant alleged that the statute upon which the conviction was based violated U.S. Const. amends. XIII and XIV. Defendant was convicted under Ala. Code § 4730 of obtaining 15 dollars under a contract in writing with intent to injure or defraud his employer. Defendant had entered into a contract to perform a service and was paid the money under the contract. Defendant partially performed under the contract. Defendant appealed alleging that the statute was unconstitutional. The state supreme court upheld the validity of the statute and Defendant’s conviction.


Was Abel properly arrested pursuant to an administrative Immigration and Naturalization Service warrant despite an overlapping FBI investigation for espionage? Were the Fourth and Fifth Amendments violated when the United States searched and seized evidence from Abel while he was in custody pursuant to an INS warrant?


The Court, through Hughes, argued that the law was a restriction on personal rights. Judged by its effect and not by its pretense, the law violated the Thirteenth Amendment. Involuntary servitude meant more than slavery.

Case Information

Citation: 219 US 219 (1911)
Argued: Oct 20 – 21, 1910
Decided: Jan 3, 1911
Case Brief: 1911