Feiner v. New York

PETITIONER: Irving Feiner
RESPONDENT: New York
LOCATION:

DOCKET NO.: 93
DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1949-1953)
LOWER COURT:

ARGUED: Oct 17, 1950
DECIDED: Jan 15, 1951

Facts of the case

On March 8, 1949, Irving Feiner, a white student at Syracuse University, made an inflammatory speech on a street corner in Syracuse, New York. During the speech, which was intended to encourage listeners to attend a leftist rally, Feiner made several disparaging remarks about local politicians, organizations, and President Truman. A crowd gathered, and several listeners began "muttering" and "shoving." One listener threatened Feiner. Two officers on the scene, fearing violence, asked Feiner twice to end his speech. After he refused, the officers arrested Feiner for inciting a breach of the peace. A trial court found Feiner guilty and sentenced him to thirty days in prison. On appeal, Feiner argued his arrest violated his right to free speech under the First Amendment. The Onondaga County Court and the New York Court of Appeals each denied his claim.

Question

Did Feiner's arrest for inciting a breach of the peace violate his right to free speech under the First Amendment?