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Supreme Court of the United States
November 5-7, 1962, Argued ; May 20, 1963, Decided
[*268] [***339] [**1122] MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.
This case presents for review trespass convictions resulting from an attempt by Negroes to be served in a privately owned restaurant customarily patronized only by whites. However, unlike a number of the cases this day decided, no state statute or city ordinance here forbids desegregation of the races in all restaurant facilities. Nevertheless, we conclude that this case is governed by the principles announced in Peterson v. City of Greenville, ante, p. 244, and that the convictions for this reason must be reversed.
Petitioners are three Negro and one white college students. On September 17, 1960, at about [****3] 10:30 in the morning they entered the McCrory Five and Ten Cent Store in New Orleans, Louisiana. They sat down at a refreshment counter at the back of the store and requested service, which was refused. Although no sign so indicated, the management operated the counter on a segregated [**1123] basis, serving only white patrons. The counter was designed to accommodate 24 persons. Negroes were welcome to shop in other areas of the store. The restaurant manager, believing that the "unusual circumstance" of Negroes sitting at the counter created an "emergency," asked petitioners to leave and, when they did not do so, ordered that the counter be closed. The restaurant manager [***340] then contacted the store manager and called the police. He frankly testified that the petitioners did not cause any disturbance, that they were orderly, and that he asked them to leave because they were Negroes. Presumably he asked the white petitioner to leave because he was in the company of Negroes.
A number of police officers, including a captain and major of police, arrived at the store shortly after they were called. Three of the officers had a conference with the store manager. The store [****4] manager then went behind [*269] the counter, faced petitioners, and in a loud voice asked them to leave. He also testified that the petitioners were merely sitting quietly at the counter throughout these happenings. When petitioners remained seated, the police major spoke to petitioner Goldfinch, and asked him what they were doing there. Mr. Goldfinch replied that petitioners "were going to sit there until they were going to be served." When petitioners still declined to leave, they were arrested by the police, led out of the store, and taken away in a patrol wagon. They were later tried and convicted for violation of the Louisiana criminal mischief statute. 1 This statute, in its application to this case, has all the elements of the usual trespass statute. Each petitioner was sentenced to serve 60 days in the Parish Prison and to pay a fine of $ 350. In default of payment of the fine, each was to serve 60 additional days in prison. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Louisiana the judgments of conviction were affirmed. 241 La. 958, 132 So. 2d 860. Because of the substantial federal questions presented, we granted certiorari. 370 U.S. 935. [****5]
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373 U.S. 267 *; 83 S. Ct. 1122 **; 10 L. Ed. 2d 338 ***; 1963 U.S. LEXIS 1551 ****
LOMBARD ET AL. v. LOUISIANA
Prior History: [****1] CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF LOUISIANA.
Disposition: 241 La. 958, 132 So. 2d 860, reversed.
restaurant, carriers, counter, innkeepers, segregated, store manager, cases, convictions, license, restaurant manager, demonstrations, ordinance, regulated, customer, serving, courts, rights
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