401 U.S. 77 (1971), 4, Boyle v. Landry

Docket Nº:No. 4
Citation:401 U.S. 77, 91 S.Ct. 758, 27 L.Ed.2d 696
Party Name:Boyle v. Landry
Case Date:February 23, 1971
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 77

401 U.S. 77 (1971)

91 S.Ct. 758, 27 L.Ed.2d 696




No. 4

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 23, 1971

Argued March 24, 1969

Reargued April 29 and November 16, 1970




Appellees brought this action for injunctive and declaratory relief against enforcement of various Illinois statutes under some of which certain appellees had been arrested and all of which they claimed were being used to intimidate them in the exercise of their First Amendment rights. A three-judge District Court declared invalid for overbreadth and enjoined enforcement of a statutory provision (under which no appellee had been arrested or charged) that prohibited intimidating a person by threats to "[c]ommit any criminal offense."

Held: Since no appellee suffered, or was threatened with, great and immediate irreparable injury and the future application of the statute to any appellee was merely speculative, the District Court was not warranted in interfering with state law enforcement by the issuance of an injunction or declaratory judgment. Younger v. Harris, ante, p. 37; Samuels v. Mackell, ante, p. 66. Pp. 80-81.

280 F.Supp. 938, reversed and remanded.

BLACK, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which BURGER, C.J., and HARLAN, STEWART, and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, WHITE, and MARSHALL, JJ., concurred in the result. DOUGLAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, ante, p. 58.

Page 78

BLACK, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BLACK delivered the opinion of the Court.

This action was brought in federal court by seven groups of Negro residents of Chicago, Illinois, seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction against the enforcement of a number of Illinois statutes and Chicago ordinances on the grounds that they violated various provisions of the Federal Constitution. The complaint named as defendants and sought relief against a number of officials of Cook County and the City of Chicago: the Mayor, the Chief Judge, and two Magistrates of the Circuit Court, the State's Attorney for the county, the Sheriff, the Superintendent of Police, the city's Corporation Counsel and his assistant, and three city police officers. Their complaint challenged as invalid the Illinois statutes prohibiting mob action,1 resisting arrest,2 aggravated assault,3 aggravated battery,4 and intimidation.5 They alleged that some of the plaintiffs had been arrested under some of these statutes, and that those prosecutions were currently pending in Illinois state courts, and that Negroes were being intimidated in the exercise of their First Amendment rights (1) through the wholesale use of all the statutes alleged to be...

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