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Adderley v. Florida

    Brief Fact Summary. Adderley (Petitioner) was arrested for demonstrating on the grounds of the local jail.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. The state has the power to preserve the property under its control for the use for which it is lawfully dedicated.

    Facts. Petitioner was convicted of trespass with a mischievous intent or purpose. She along with thirty-one other college students marched to the local jail to protect the arrest of some students the previous day. They also were expressing their distaste for segregation of schools and the jails on Florida.

    Issue. Were the arrest and charge unconstitutional restrictions of Petitioner’s First Amendment right to free speech?

    Held. No. The sheriff had the right to remove persons from jail property when their presence interfered with the operation of the facility.

    Dissent. Protesting at a jail facility is the form of communication available to the masses that may not be of the means to access newspapers or political powers. Therefore, this regulation is a form of censorship of the common people.

    Discussion. A jail is a non-public forum. It is designed to house criminal convicts and suspects, not to serve as a place for political protest or demonstration. Historically, the jailhouse has not been open to the public for the purpose of communicating ideas. The sheriff asked the demonstrators to leave because they were disrupting the jail, not because he disagreed with the message of their speech.


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