Bell v. Maryland

LOCATION: Hooper's Restaurant

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 378 US 226 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 14, 1963 / Oct 15, 1963
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1964

Jack Greenberg - For the Petitioners
Loring E. Hawes - For the Respondent
Russell R. Reno, Jr. - For the Repondent

Facts of the case

A group of 15-20 African-American students entered Hooper's restaurant in Baltimore to engage in a sit-in to protest the restaurant's refusal to serve African-American patrons. They refused to leave when requested to do so by the hostess on behalf of Mr. Hooper, the president of the corporation that owned the restaurant. Mr. Hooper called the police, who told him that they needed a warrant to be able to do anything. After Mr. Hooper swore out a warrant, the students were arrested for violating a Maryland statute prohibiting trespassing. The Maryland Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions.


Can the students' convictions be upheld in the light of intervening state laws?

Media for Bell v. Maryland

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 14, 1963 in Bell v. Maryland

Earl Warren:

Number 12, Robert Mack Bell et al., Petitioners, versus Maryland.

Mr. Greenberg.

Jack Greenberg:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Petitioners have been convicted of violating Article 27, Section 577 of the Public General Laws of Maryland, the trespass statute which is the same statute that -- that was read to you by Mr. Rauh and was the statute that was involved in the Glen Echo case.

They were indicted on a two count indictment, which appears on page 6 of the record stating that the petitioner unlawfully did enter upon and cross over the land premises and private property of a certain corporation in the State to with Hooper Food Company, Inc., a corporation, after having been dully notified by Albert Warfel, an agent, not to do so.

Second count of the indictment charges that they entered this property which was then and they are posted against trespassers.

They were found guilty on Count One, fine $10 and caused the fine being suspended.

They were acquitted on Count Two.

Petitioners claim that their convictions violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and that the criminal proceedings and judgment enforced racial segregation against them.

They also claim that the judgments below violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in that there was no evidence to sustain the conviction under the indictment and statute which have just been read.

Or if it were to be held that there was sufficient evidence, the indictment statute did not give them fair notice required by the Due Process Clause.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Was that question raised in the state court?

Jack Greenberg:

It was raised, I believe, sufficiently to present it here particularly in terms of the free speech argument and I think vagueness argument and free speech argument are really different ways of saying the same thing in a case such as this.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Well, is that, Mr. Greenberg, you say it was not raised in terms?

Jack Greenberg:

It was not raised in terms but I think it was raised sufficiently to be here as in Wright against Georgia and other cases where free speech and vagueness in a case such these are intimately linked.

But --

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Jack Greenberg:

Well, --

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Jack Greenberg:

I -- I go along with that.

I think we argued it first.

I don't want to be said that we're adopting it.

It appears at length in our certiorari petition and in our brief.

Potter Stewart:

He's adopting your argument position?

Jack Greenberg:

Well, I would let him characterize it.

But it -- it is an argument upon which we rely.

However, we will not argue it orally because this is the only argument the Solicitor makes and I suppose this is the one that he will be arguing orally.

The facts of the case are in many respects similar to the facts of the other cases which have just been argued.

June 17th, 1960, a group of 15 to 18 Negro students among whom where the petitioners who numbered a dozen, entered the lobby of Hooper's restaurant in Baltimore, they were met by the hostess at the door or rather within the restaurant, beyond the door and she stated, "I am sorry but we haven't integrated as yet."