Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas

PETITIONER: Interstate Circuit, Inc.
RESPONDENT: City of Dallas
LOCATION: WAFB TV

DOCKET NO.: 56
DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: State appellate court

CITATION: 390 US 676 (1968)
ARGUED: Jan 15, 1968 / Jan 16, 1968
DECIDED: Apr 22, 1968

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 16, 1968 in Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 15, 1968 in Interstate Circuit, Inc. v. City of Dallas

Earl Warren:

Number 56 and 64, Interstate Circuit Incorporated, Appellant, versus City of Dallas and United States -- the United Artists Corporation, Appellant, versus City of Dallas.

Mr. Nizer.

Louis Nizer:

May it please the Court, Mr. Chief Justice.

I represent United Artists Corporation, the distributor of the motion picture “Viva Maria."

This is an appeal from an injunction enforcing an author of the Dallas Motion Picture Classification Board which prohibits the exhibition of the motion picture “Viva Maria” to any person under the age of 16 in any theater within the City of Dallas.

The injunction also requires that all --

Potter Stewart:

Is that literally true?

I thought that a -- if such a person were accompanied by a parent or a spouse or -- and so on.

Louis Nizer:

No, Your Honor.

The city has so contended apparently to ameliorate the situation presented.

The ordinance does not permit that.

The ordinance has no exemption that states at Section 46A, Subdivision 5 that it is unlawful for any exhibitor to sell a ticket or permit a young person to see a picture classified not suitable, period.

There's no exemption if accompanied by a parent.

Had an exemption been intended, this Section would've contained the obvious phrase, “unless accompanied by parent or guardian."

Now this is true sir, that there's another Section of remedy in the event of a prosecution of a child.

If a child is prosecuted for entering, it is a defense to hear.

An affirmative defense that he was accompanied by a guardian or a parent, that's at page 127 of the record, sir.

That's Subdivision (d).

Abe Fortas:

What does this mean then to the extent that any prosecution or other proceeding under this ordinance involves the entering, purchasing of a ticket, etcetera for viewing by a young person in such a film, it shall be a valid offense.

Do you construe that as meaning that this defense is available only in a prosecution of the young person, is that what I understand this is your (Voice Overlap) --

Louis Nizer:

Yes, Your Honor.

And not even from an exhibitor if you were prosecuted.

That's unclear.

It doesn't say one way or the other.

We don't think it would even apply to an exhibitor.

We think that there was rational and deliberate this and this.

The Section made it a crime for an exhibitor knowingly to permit a child to see the picture, period.

If however, that child is brought on criminal charges, it was thought advisable to give him the remedy that he could say, “Well, I'm not guilty of a crime because I had my father with me."

But the Section does not carryover to the exemption that is claimed otherwise.

Could there been any judicial rulings on that, Mr. Nizer?