RESPONDENT: United States
DOCKET NO.: 685
DECIDED BY: White Court (1916-1921)
ARGUED: Jan 27, 1919
DECIDED: Mar 10, 1919
Facts of the case
From July 6 to December 7, 1915, the Missouri Staats Zeiung, a newspaper published in Kansas City, Missouri, issued a series of twelve editorials written by Jacob Frohwerk denouncing involvement by the United States in World War I. Frohwerk was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which made it a crime to "willfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States." A trial court found Frohwerk guilty and sentenced him to a fine and imprisonment. On appeal, Frohwerk challenged the statute on the ground that it violated his right to free speech under the First Amendment.
Did Frohwerk's conviction under the Espionage Act of 1917 violate his right to free speech under the First Amendment?