176 A.2d 771 (Md. 1962), 91, Bell v. State

Docket Nº:91.
Citation:176 A.2d 771, 227 Md. 302
Opinion Judge:[10] Henderson
Party Name:Robert Mack BELL et al. v. STATE of Maryland.
Attorney:[7] Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Tucker R. Dearing, with whom were Thurgood Marshall and Jack Greenberg on the brief, for the appellants.
Case Date:January 09, 1962
Court:Court of Appeals of Maryland

Page 771

176 A.2d 771 (Md. 1962)

227 Md. 302

Robert Mack BELL et al.


STATE of Maryland.

No. 91.

Court of Appeals of Maryland.

January 9, 1962

[227 Md. 303] Juanita Jackson Mitchell and Tucker R. Dearing, Baltimore (Thurgood Marshall and Jack Greenberg, New York City, on the brief), for appellants.

Lawrence F. Rodowsky, Asst. Atty. Gen. (Thomas B. Finan, Atty. Gen., Saul A. Harris, State's Atty. and James W. Murphy, Asst. State's Atty., Baltimore, on the brief), for appellee.



These appeals are from $10.00 fines imposed, but suspended, after convictions in the Criminal Court of Baltimore for trespassing on the privately owned premises of Hooper's Restaurant. The appellants entered the premises in protest against the restaurant owner's policy of not serving Negroes and refused to leave when asked to do so. In fact, they occupied seats at various tables and refused to relinquish them unless and until they were served. The manager thereupon summoned the police and swore out warrants for the arrest of the 'sit- [227 Md. 304] in' demonstrators. They elected not to be tried by the magistrate and were subsequently indicted and tried.

The appellants contend that the State may not use its judicial process to enforce the racially discriminatory practices of a private owner, once that owner has opened his property to the general public, and that the Maryland Criminal Trespass Statute, although constitutional on its face, has been unconstitutionally applied. Apparently the appellants would concede that the owner could have physically and forcibly ejected them, but deny that he could constitutionally invoke the orderly process of the law to accomplish that end.

We find it unnecessary to dwell on these contentions at length, because the same arguments were fully considered and rejected by this Court in two recent cases, Drews v. State, 224 Md. 186, 167 A.2d 341, and Griffin & Greene v. State, 225 Md. 422, 171 A.2d 717. We expressly held in the Griffin

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case, contrary to the arguments now advanced, that demonstrators are not within the exception in the Maryland Trespass Statute, Code (1957), Art. 27, sec. 577, relating to 'a bona fide claim or right of ownership', and that the statutory references to 'entry upon or crossing over', cover the case of remaining upon land after...

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