Robinson v. Florida

LOCATION: Prince Edward County, VA

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)

CITATION: 378 US 153 (1964)
ARGUED: Oct 15, 1963
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Robinson v. Florida

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 15, 1963 in Robinson v. Florida

Earl Warren:

James Russell Robinson et al., Appellants, versus the State of Florida.

Mr. Hopkins.

Alfred I. Hopkins:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is an appeal from the Supreme Court of the State of the Florida which affirms certain criminal convictions by the criminal court of record in the -- for Dade County, Florida involving 18 appellants.

The adjudication by the trial court was head pursuant to Section 509.141 of the Florida Statutes.

This chapter of this Section is set forth on page 8 of the appendix of appellants' main brief.

To begin with an analysis of the statute, so we'll know what the case is about, the statute is rather unwieldy piece of legislation provides in essence insofar as it is germane to this case that if any person enter a restaurant and if his presence or continued presence is, among other reasons, in the opinion of the management, thought to be detrimental to the business, then the manager may request that this patron leave the premises.

If the patron declines to leave, the manager may then call the police. He's telling the client to leave, he is deemed to be illegally on the premises and subject to arrest and conviction for misdemeanor.

The statute also provides for certain other criteria of undesirability such as persons being intoxicated, immoral, profane, lewd or brawling, but then at the end, it has this rather generalized provision that any other person who, in the opinion of the management, is -- is -- the presence of such a person would be detrimental to the business, and that person maybe ejected from the premises.

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Alfred I. Hopkins:

The continue --

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Alfred I. Hopkins:

Not in terms of food.

They were seated, if I may explain from the beginning --

Arthur J. Goldberg:

They took seats.

Alfred I. Hopkins:

They took seats.

Let me, if I may Your Honor --

Arthur J. Goldberg:

(Inaudible) the fact the this Court has so heavily rejected (Inaudible).

Alfred I. Hopkins:

I wish I had seen the point of the trial court.

We didn't raise that particular issue but they were never served any food at all.

What happened was this.

The appellants, constituting 18 persons and being both Negroes and white persons in association with Negroes, entered into a -- a department store in Miami, Florida called Shell's City.

The Shell's City has 19 departments, one of which is a restaurant.

It serves the public, Negro and white alike, without discrimination in 18 of the departments but in the restaurant, it draws the color bar.

Prior to the incident in question, which gave rise to these criminal prosecutions, there had been two other attempted sit-in demonstrations.

They're mentioned very briefly in the record and the consequences of them are not set forth in the record.

On this particular day, which was on August of 1960, the appellants walked into the restaurant in this department store, sat down in about five tables.

They were not served when they sat down and they waited for service.

They waited for about a half-an-hour.

At the end of the half hour period, one of the appellants got up from the table, walked over to a Mr. George McKelvey.