167 A.2d 341 (Md. 1961), 113, Drews v. State

Docket Nº:113.
Citation:167 A.2d 341, 224 Md. 186
Opinion Judge:[10] Hammond
Party Name:Dale H. DREWS et al. v. STATE of Maryland.
Case Date:January 18, 1961
Court:Court of Appeals of Maryland

Page 341

167 A.2d 341 (Md. 1961)

224 Md. 186

Dale H. DREWS et al.


STATE of Maryland.

No. 113.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

January 18, 1961

Page 342

[224 Md. 189] Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., Baltimore (Robert B. Watts, Robert J. Martineau, Venable, Baetjer & Howard, Baltimore, on the brief), for appellants.

Joseph S. Kaufman, Asst. Atty. Gen. (C. Ferdinand Sybert, Atty. Gen., and Frank H. Newell, 3rd, State's Atty., for Baltimore County, Towson, on the brief), for appellee.



The four appellants were convicted by the court sitting without a jury of violating Code (1957), Art. 27, Sec. 123, by 'acting in a disorderly manner to the disturbance of the public peace' in a 'place of public resort or amusement.' Two of appellants are white men, one is a white woman, and the other a Negress. Accompanied by a Negro who was not tried, they had gone as a group to Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore County, which as a business policy does not admit Negroes, and were arrested when they refused to leave after being asked to do so.

Appellants claim that there was no evidence that the Park is a place of public resort or amusement, that if there were such evidence the systematic exclusion of Negroes prevents the Park from being regarded as such a public place, that they were not guilty of disorderly conduct and, finally, if the Park is a place of public resort or amusement their presence there was in the exercise of a constitutional right, and their arrest [224 Md. 190] and prosecution amounted to State action to enforce segregation in violation of the Constitution of the United States.

There is no direct statement in the record that the Park is a place of public resort or amusement but we think the evidence clearly permitted the finding the trial court made that it is. There was testimony which showed, or permitted the inference, that the Park is owned by a private corporation, that it has been in operation each summer for many years, that among its attractions are a miniature golf course and a cafeteria, that appellants' conduct occurred on 'All Nations Day' which usually attracts a large crowd, that on that day the Park was so crowded there was but elbow room to walk, and that the Park's policy was to welcome everyone but Negroes. The trial court properly could have concluded the Park is a place resorted to by the general public for amusement. Cf. Iozzi v. State, Md., 166 A.2d 257.

A lawmaking body is presumed by the Courts to have used words in a statute to convey the meaning ordinarily attributed to them. In recognition of this plain precept the Courts, in construing zoning, licensing, tax and anti-discrimination statutes, have held that the term place of public resort or amusement included dance halls, swimming pools, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses, roller skating rinks and a dancing pavilion in an amusement park (because it was an integral part of the amusement park), saying that amusement may be derived from participation as well as observation. Amos v. Prom, Inc., D.C., 117 F.Supp. 615; Askew v. Parker, 151 Cal.App.2d 759, 312 P.2d 342; Jaffarian v. Building Com'r, 275 Mass. 267, 175 N.E. 641; Jones v. Broadway Roller Rink Co., 136 Wis. 595, 118 N.W. 170, 171, 19 L.R.A.,N.S., 907; Johnson v. Auburn & Syracuse Electric R. Co., 222 N.Y. 443, 119 N.E. 72, L.R.A.1918F, 824. Section

Page 343

123 of Art. 27 proscribes...

To continue reading