Kovacs v. Cooper

PETITIONER:Charles Kovacs
RESPONDENT:Albert Cooper Jr., Judge of the First District Police Court of Trenton

DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1946-1949)

ARGUED: Oct 11, 1948
DECIDED: Jan 31, 1949

Facts of the case

Charles Kovacs was driven around Trenton, New Jersey. He played music and spoke through an amplifier that he had placed on the truck in which he was riding. He was convicted for violating Ordinance No. 430 of the City of Trenton, which prohibited the use of sound amplifiers and other instruments that emitted “loud and raucous noises” on public streets. He appealed his conviction to the New Jersey Supreme Court, alleging that the ordinance violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. The New Jersey Supreme Court upheld his conviction, as did the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals.


Did Trenton’s Ordinance 430 violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment as applied through the Fourteenth Amendment?