Brief Fact Summary. Two men entered private land in order to aid migrant farmworkers. The owner asked them to leave, but they refused. The men were charged with trespass.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Trespass does not include a situation where representatives of recognized charitable groups enter private land in order to provide government aid to those workers who need it.
Issue. Does trespass on real property include the right to bar access to governmental services available to migrant workers?
Held. No. Judgment reversed.
Title to real property does not include control over the destiny of people the owner permits to come onto his premises. Their well-being is the paramount concern of the law. In fact, the government created the two nonprofit corporations that the defendants belong to in order to be of service to migrant farm workers.
Migrant farm workers are unaware of their rights and the opportunities available to them, and so can only be reached by the effort of others.
A person’s right to his real property is not absolute. Private or public necessity may justify entering onto his land.
There is no need for a farmer to deny his worker the change to receive aid from government services or charity groups, so representatives from those groups may enter the land and see the worker in his living place.
Though an employer of migrant farm workers may reasonably require the visitors of his employees to identify themselves, the employer may not deny the worker his privacy or interfere with his opportunity to live with dignity and to enjoy associations customary among our citizens.
Discussion. Nonowners may enter onto an owner’s property in order to provide governmental services, even if the owner objects to the entry.