Byrne v. Karalexis, No. 83

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; DOUGLAS; BRENNAN
Citation91 S.Ct. 777,27 L.Ed.2d 792,401 U.S. 216
Docket NumberNo. 83
Decision Date23 February 1971
PartiesGarrett H. BYRNE et al., Appellants, v. Serafim KARALEXIS et al. Re

401 U.S. 216
91 S.Ct. 777
27 L.Ed.2d 792
Garrett H. BYRNE et al., Appellants,

v.

Serafim KARALEXIS et al.

No. 83.
Reargued Nov. 17, 1970.
Decided Feb. 23, 1971.

Robert H. Quinn, Boston, Mass., for appellants.

Nathan Lewin, Washington, D.C., and Alan M. Dershowitz, Cambridge, Mass., for appellees.

Page 217

Peter L. Strauss, Washington, D.C., for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of Court.

PER CURIAM.

This is an appeal from the order of a three-judge court granting a preliminary injunction against any civil or criminal proceedings in state courts against the appellees. Appellant Byrne is the district attorney of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The appellees own and operate a motion picture theater in Boston. As a result of exhibiting the film entitled 'I am Curious (Yellow)' at their theater, appellees where charged by District Attorney Byrne with violating Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, § 28A, which prohibits the possession of obscene films for the purpose of exhibition.1

After the filing of the original state indictments against them appellees brought the present action in federal

Page 218

court.2 They sought an injunction against both pending and future prosecutions under the Massachusetts obscenity law, and a declaration that the state obscenity law was unconstitutional on its face and as applied.3 The

Page 219

three-judge District Court held that appellees had a probability of success in having the statute declared unconstitutional, that abstention would be improper, and that appellees might suffer irreparable injury if they were unable to show the film. The three-judge court, one judge dissenting, therefore granted a preliminary injunction, forbidding the initiation of any future prosecutions or the execution of the sentence imposed in the state proceedings then pending. 306 F.Supp. 1363 (1969). The district attorney appealed. We granted a stay of the district court order, 396 U.S. 976, 90 S.Ct. 469, 24 L.Ed.2d 447, 486 (1969), and subsequently noted probable jurisdiction, 397 U.S. 985, 90 S.Ct. 1123, 25 L.Ed.2d 394 (1970).

Page 220

In discussing the subject of irreparable injury, the court said:

'We do not agree with defendant's contention that there is no indication of irreparable injury. Even if money damages could be thought in some cases adequate compensation for delay, this defendant will presumably be immune. We agree with plaintiffs that the box office receipts, if there is a substantial delay, can be expected to be smaller. A moving picture may well be a diminishing asset. It has been said, also, that in assessing injury the chilling effect upon the freedom of expression of others is to be considered.

See Dombrowski v. Pfister, 1965, 380 U.S. 479, 486—489, 85 S.Ct. 1116, 14 L.Ed.2d 22.' 306 F.Supp., at 1367.

There was, however, no finding by the District Court that the threat to appellees' federally protected rights is 'one that cannot be eliminated by(their) defense against a single criminal prosecution.' Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, at 46, 91 S.Ct. 746, at 751. Because the District Court, in considering the propriety of injunctive and declaratory relief in this case, was without the guidance provided today by our decisions in Younger v. Harris, supra, and Samuels v. Mackell, 401 U.S. 66, 91 S.Ct. 764, 27 L.Ed.2d 688. We vacate the judgment below and remand for reconsideration in light of those decisions.

It is so ordered.

Judgment vacated and case remanded.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS took no part in the consideration or decision of this appeal.

Mr. Justice BRENNAN, with whom Mr. Justice WHITE and Mr. Justice MARSHALL join, dissenting.

The injunction appealed from issued December 6, 1969, after appellees' convictions in state court on November 12,

Page 221

1969, of exhibiting an obscene film in violation of state law. In the absence of any showing of bad faith or...

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139 practice notes
  • People v. Adler, Cr. A
    • United States
    • United States Superior Court (California)
    • March 21, 1972
    ...for its very content. (See for example Karalexis v. Byrne (1969) D.C., 306 F.Supp. 1363, later overruled in Byrne v. Karalexis (1971), 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d These contentions were on May 3, 1971, squarely rejected by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Reide......
  • Mandel v. Hutchinson, Civ. No. 71-2327.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 21, 1971
    ...Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed.2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200, 91 S.Ct. 769, 27 L.Ed.2d 781; Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d 792 6 28 U.S.C. § 384, Jud.Code § 267 Rev. Stat. 723 (1877) merely perpetrated without material change the Judici......
  • La Rue v. State of California, Civ. No. 70-1751-F
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • April 7, 1971
    ...401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed. 2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200, 91 S.Ct. 769, 27 L.Ed.2d 781 (1971); Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S. Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed. 792...
  • Wulp v. Corcoran, No. 71-1214.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • January 11, 1972
    ...(1971); Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed.2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200 (1971), and Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d 792 5 The federal anti-injunction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, by its terms, applies only to proceedings that have be......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
139 cases
  • People v. Adler, Cr. A
    • United States
    • United States Superior Court (California)
    • March 21, 1972
    ...for its very content. (See for example Karalexis v. Byrne (1969) D.C., 306 F.Supp. 1363, later overruled in Byrne v. Karalexis (1971), 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d These contentions were on May 3, 1971, squarely rejected by the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Reide......
  • Mandel v. Hutchinson, Civ. No. 71-2327.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • December 21, 1971
    ...Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed.2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200, 91 S.Ct. 769, 27 L.Ed.2d 781; Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d 792 6 28 U.S.C. § 384, Jud.Code § 267 Rev. Stat. 723 (1877) merely perpetrated without material change the Judici......
  • La Rue v. State of California, Civ. No. 70-1751-F
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • April 7, 1971
    ...401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed. 2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200, 91 S.Ct. 769, 27 L.Ed.2d 781 (1971); Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S. Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed. 792...
  • Wulp v. Corcoran, No. 71-1214.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • January 11, 1972
    ...(1971); Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82, 91 S.Ct. 674, 27 L.Ed.2d 701 (1971); Dyson v. Stein, 401 U.S. 200 (1971), and Byrne v. Karalexis, 401 U.S. 216, 91 S.Ct. 777, 27 L.Ed.2d 792 5 The federal anti-injunction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 2283, by its terms, applies only to proceedings that have be......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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