Griffin v. Maryland

PETITIONER: William L. Griffin et al.
LOCATION: Beaumont Mills

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: Maryland Court of Appeals

CITATION: 378 US 130 (1964)
ARGUED: Nov 05, 1962
REARGUED: Oct 14, 1963 / Oct 15, 1963
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1964

Jack Greenberg - for the petitioners
Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. - for the petitioners
Robert C. Murphy - Deputy Attorney General of Maryland, for the respondent
Russell R. Reno, Jr. - Assistant Attorney General of Maryland, for the respondent
Ralph S. Spritzer - by special leave of Court, argued the cause for the United States on the reargument, as amicus curiae, urging reversal

Facts of the case

On June 30, 1960, several white and black people picketed the private Glen Echo Amusement Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. The demonstrators protested against the park's policy "not to have colored people on the rides, or in the park." During the demonstration, William Griffin and four other Negroes entered the park to test its management's resolve. A state deputy, who worked as a security staff member in the park, soon observed them. After informing them of the park's racial policy, the deputy asked them to leave. When Griffin and his friends refused, they were arrested and later convicted for criminal trespass. State appellate courts affirmed the convictions. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.


Did ordering five Negro patrons to leave a private amusement park, and arresting them for criminal trespass when they refused, violate their right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment?

Media for Griffin v. Maryland

Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - October 14, 1963 in Griffin v. Maryland

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 05, 1962 in Griffin v. Maryland

Earl Warren:

Number 26, William L. Griffin et al.,Petitioner, versus Maryland.

Mr. Rauh.

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

May it please the Court.

This case is here on writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland to review the trespass conviction of the petitioners for trying to ride on the merry-go-round at Glen Echo Amusement Park.

Glen Echo Amusement Park is the major amusement facility of the National Capital Area.

Shortly after 7:00 in the evening, on June 30,1960, a number of persons, Negro and White, gathered outside of the entrance to Glen Echo and formed a picket line.

Approximately an hour later, the five petitioners, young Negro students, entered the park.

Now, if Your Honors please, there is no obstruction at this park.

There is no gate at the park.

There is no admission tickets.

You walk on to the park and then you buy a ticket for the particular thing you want; a merry-go-round or any other of the amusements that they have there, the roller coaster and so forth.

These five petitioners went on to the land where, as I say, there is no obstruction, they walk to the carousel.

They had tickets which had been given to them by the White associates, tickets being admittedly freely transferable, they went upon the merry-go-round and sat on the horses and the other animals.

The music was playing, but the carousel didn't move.

Instead, a gentleman by the name of Francis J. Collins came up to them.

He had on the uniform of a private detective agency by which he was employed on detail to the Glen Echo Amusement Park and had on his lapel of his shirt, a badge, the Deputy Sheriff badge of Montgomery County which have been given to him pursuant to a provision of Montgomery County for such deputizing of sheriffs.

It is conceded that he had the full power of law upon Glen Echo Amusement Park.

Hugo L. Black:

May I ask you one question which I'd like to discuss as you go along.

Would that conduct have violated Section 1 of the Civil Rights Act which this Court held unconstitutional in 1883?

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

Yes, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

May I also ask, Mr. Rauh, if there were any concessions in this part that were open to Negros.

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

No, Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

There were none?

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

What had happened there --

Hugo L. Black:

Have you challenged it?

Have you challenged the holding of the Court on the Civil Rights Act?

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

Yes, Your Honor, as the second have --

Hugo L. Black:

You have challenged it?

Joseph L. Rauh, Jr.:

Yes, Your Honor.

We are the overruling at the second half, under what I should refer to as the Justice Douglas' opinion in the Garner case, that's the second half of my argument.