In re Green

LOCATION: Vilage of Kake

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962)

CITATION: 369 US 689 (1962)
ARGUED: Apr 09, 1962
DECIDED: May 21, 1962

Facts of the case


Media for In re Green

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 09, 1962 (Part 2) in In re Green

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 09, 1962 (Part 1) in In re Green

Earl Warren:

First case for argument is Number 312, the Matter of the Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus for Merritt W. Green, II, Petitioner.

Mr. Green, you may proceed with your argument.

Merritt W. Green:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

This Court has issued certiorari to the Supreme Court of Ohio in this particular case.

Petitioner in this case was judged to be guilty of contempt to court, an indirect contempt to court by a trial court in Ohio after a written citation for indirect contempt had been filed by a court, the judge of the Court of Common Pleas, pursuant to provisions of the Ohio statutes.

The circumstances out of which the citation for a contempt arose or the citation arose out of the petitioner's representation of members of a labor union, the petitioner being a lawyer in Ohio have then about three and a half years admission.

Whose members, the union members were then engaged in a labor dispute with an interstate employer which had started some time previous to that time.

The acts, claimed acts of contempt on the part of the petitioner where that, he have advised his client who really was the original counsel in Chicago that the Court of Common Pleas in this labor dispute which was involved in interstate commerce had issued an ex parte temporary injunction and he had told his client that in view of adamant and continuous refusal of the court issuing that ex parte injunction enjoining the continuation of pea -- peaceful picketing.

That -- it appeared that the only way that would be possible to get a hearing on the question of the conflict of jurisdiction between the state court and the federal court would be if the union chose to continue picketing and the court entertained a citation for contempt of the injunction and the filing of the writ of habeas corpus.

The petitioner was sentenced to jail and fined $500, the maximum amount of the Ohio law without being given a trial or hearing, which was provided for in the statutes.

Immediately thereafter, upon the refusal of the trial court to issue or grant a bond so an appeal to be taken, the petitioner filed his application with the Court of Appeals in immediate appellate court in Ohio and the original action for a writ of habeas corpus seeking his release.

The contention --

Earl Warren:

Does the trial court --

Merritt W. Green:

-- at that time of the petitioner --

Earl Warren:

Do you say the trial court denied him bail on appeal?

Merritt W. Green:

Yes sir, that's right.

Immediately on pronouncing sentence, he -- he called to some deputies that he had already had in the court and take him to jail and refuse to issue a bond.

In the original action in the Court of Appeals for writ of habeas corpus, it was contended -- three things were contended that first that the temporary injunction issued prohibiting peaceful picketing in the labor dispute arising in interstate commerce was void by reason of the fact that the court did not have jurisdiction over the subject matter, number one.

Number two, it was contended that the -- the lawyer being a part of the rights given to a legal advice and that the use of a lawyer being part of the rights given to people who are in labor unions engaged in interstate commerce and so forth, that the denial of counsel to them by reason of this type of an action and the -- and the refusal for these or the sentencing a lawyer to jail for honest advice given to -- to a client and the subsequent refusal to give him a trial or hearing on citation, a written citation for contempt was the denial of due process and equal protection of the law.

The Court of Appeals --


Merritt W. Green:

He just said at the outset that the -- at the day that the petitioner was summons in on this written petition or written charge.

After some difficulty, we tried to find out what these -- what the posture of the case was, what we were there for and the judge finally, we -- as the record would show, says that you're not here for any hearing or trial.

The trial court apparently took the position that previously on two separate days when members of the union were before the court for a violation of the injunction.

They were before the court pursuant to agreement made between counsel and the presence of the court to that'd be a way to test the -- test the court's order.

The trial court apparently, when the petitioner in answer to a question by the court, “I want to know who told these men to do so and so and to violate this injunction.

You honestly and truthfully told the court that I can tell the court now they were told by me.”

And then he went on to explain to the court that after the continuou -- continuous denial of the hearing at the outset an issuance of the ex parte injunction, that he'd called his client in Chicago and said to the people in Chicago, now here's what's happened today and even though --


Merritt W. Green:

This was at the first hearing where the men were in for -- on contempt and that the petitioner was not --