391 U.S. 216 (1968), 149, Dyke v. Taylor Implement Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Docket Nº:No. 149
Citation:391 U.S. 216, 88 S.Ct. 1472, 20 L.Ed.2d 538
Party Name:Dyke v. Taylor Implement Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Case Date:May 20, 1968
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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391 U.S. 216 (1968)

88 S.Ct. 1472, 20 L.Ed.2d 538

Dyke

v.

Taylor Implement Manufacturing Co., Inc.

No. 149

United States Supreme Court

May 20, 1968

Argued January 18, 1968

CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE

Syllabus

In connection with a labor dispute, a Tennessee county chancery court issued an injunction which, inter alia, barred inflicting harm or damage to respondent company's employees. About a month later, a shot was fired from a car at the house of one of respondent's nonstriking employees. A deputy sheriff, presumably informed of the crime but without a description of the car or further details, pursued a suspicious car which raced away but was ultimately stopped by policemen, who arrested petitioners, the car's occupants, apparently for reckless driving. The deputy sheriff arrived, and he and the policemen noted a fresh bullet hole in the car. They took petitioners to jail, and the policemen parked the car on the street outside, apparently as a convenience to the car's owner. The deputy sheriff and several policemen made a warrantless search of the car and found an air rifle under the front seat. Over petitioners' objection, evidence about the gun was admitted at their trial before the chancellor for criminal contempt for violating the injunction. Petitioners were found guilty and given the maximum sentence of 10 days in jail and a $50 fine. The State Supreme Court affirmed, rejecting petitioners' contentions that the convictions violated their constitutional rights because a jury trial was denied and because evidence concerning the gun, which they claimed had been illegally seized, had been admitted.

Held:

1. In the light of the maximum sentence which the Tennessee statutes allowed, the criminal contempt for which petitioners were convicted was a "petty offense," to which the federal constitutional right of a jury trial does not extend. Pp. 219-220.

2. The evidence in the record is insufficient to justify the conclusion that the officers, before they began their warrantless search of the car, had "reasonable or probable cause" to believe that they would find an instrumentality of a crime or evidence pertaining to a crime. The applicability of Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160 (1949), to a warrantless search of a parked automobile upon probable cause therefore need not be decided, and petitioners' claim must be sustained that the gun was illegally

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seized and evidence concerning it should not have been admitted at their trial. Pp. 220-222.

219 Tenn. 472, 410 S.W.2d 881, reversed and remanded.

WHITE, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioners, Wayne Dyke, Ed McKinney, and John Blackwell, were found guilty of criminal contempt by the Chancery Court of McMinn County, Tennessee. All three were given the maximum sentence authorized by statute, 10 days in jail and a $50 fine.1 The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed,2 rejecting contentions that the convictions violated the Federal Constitution because a jury trial was denied3 and because testimony concerning

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a gun, allegedly discovered during an unconstitutional search, was admitted at trial. Petitioners raised both challenges in their petition for [88 S.Ct. 1474] a writ of certiorari, and we granted the writ. 389 U.S. 815 (1967).

In connection with a labor dispute, McMinn County Chancery Court issued, on January 24, 1966, an injunction against, inter alia,

inflicting harm or damage upon the persons or property of [respondent Taylor Implement Company's] employees, customers, visitors or any other persons.

On the night of February 25, 1966, a car was seen to drive past the home of Lloyd Duckett, a nonstriking Taylor Implement employee who lived in Monroe County, which adjoins McMinn. Shots were fired from the car at or into the Duckett home. Robert Wayne Ellis, Duckett's son-in law, was standing in the front yard with another...

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