390 U.S. 139 (1968), 787, Teitel Film Corp. v. Cusack

Docket Nº:No. 787
Citation:390 U.S. 139, 88 S.Ct. 754, 19 L.Ed.2d 966
Party Name:Teitel Film Corp. v. Cusack
Case Date:January 29, 1968
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 139

390 U.S. 139 (1968)

88 S.Ct. 754, 19 L.Ed.2d 966

Teitel Film Corp.



No. 787

United States Supreme Court

Jan. 29, 1968



Appellants, who were permanently enjoined by the Illinois courts from showing certain motion pictures, challenged the Chicago Motion Picture Censorship Ordinance as unconstitutional on its face and as applied. The ordinance allows 50 to 57 days to complete the administrative process, and there is no provision for a prompt judicial decision by the trial court of the alleged obscenity of the film.

Held: Appellants' constitutional rights were violated, since the requirements of Freedman v. Maryland, 380 U.S. 51, that the censor, within a "specified brief period," either issue a license or go to court to restrain showing the film, and that there be "prompt final judicial decision," were not met.

38 Ill.2d 53, 230 N.E.2d 241, judgments reversed and remanded.

Per curiam opinion.


This appeal seeks review of judgments of the Supreme Court of Illinois which affirmed orders of the Circuit Court of Cook County permanently enjoining the appellants from showing certain motion pictures in public places in the City of Chicago, 38 Ill.2d 53, 230 N.E.2d 241. The questions presented are whether the Chicago Motion Picture Censorship Ordinance is unconstitutional on its face and as applied, and whether the films involved are obscene.1

Page 140

The Chicago Motion Picture Censorship Ordinance prohibits the exhibition in any public place of "any picture . . . without first having secured a permit therefor from the superintendent of police." The Superintendent is required "within three days of receipt" of films to "inspect such . . . films . . . or cause them to be inspected by the Film Review Section . . . and within three days after such inspection" either to grant or deny the permit.2 If the permit is denied, the exhibitor may, within seven days, seek review by the Motion Picture Appeal Board. The Appeal Board must review the film within 15 days of the request for review, and thereafter, within 15 days, afford the exhibitor, his agent or distributor a hearing. The Board must serve the applicant with written notice of its ruling within five days after close of the hearing. If the Board denies the permit,

the Board, within ten days from the hearing, shall file...

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