Cameron v. Johnson, Civ. A. No. 1891.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtMr. Frankfurter in that case
Citation244 F. Supp. 846
PartiesJohn Earl CAMERON, Plaintiffs, v. Hon. Paul B. JOHNSON, Jr., et al., Defendants.
Decision Date11 July 1964
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 1891.

244 F. Supp. 846

John Earl CAMERON, Plaintiffs,
v.
Hon. Paul B. JOHNSON, Jr., et al., Defendants.

Civ. A. No. 1891.

United States District Court S. D. Mississippi, Hattiesburg Division.

July 10, 1964.

Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law July 10, 1964.

Opinion July 11, 1964.


244 F. Supp. 847

Dixon L. Pyles, Jackson, Miss., Smith, Waltzer, Jones & Peebles, New Orleans, La., Kunstler, Kunstler & Kinoy, New York City, for plaintiff.

Joe T. Patterson, Atty. Gen. of State of Miss., Will S. Wells, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jackson, Miss., for defendants.

Before RIVES, Circuit Judge, and COX and MIZE, District Judges.

MIZE, District Judge:

This cause coming on to be heard before the Court on affidavits and photographs presented by the parties under stipulation of counsel as the sole testimony and evidence, and the Court having received and considered such testimony and reasonable inferences deduced therefrom, together with briefs of the parties in support of their respective contentions, makes the following Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law thereon.

FINDING OF FACTS

This suit is presented on its merits to the Court on the disputed issues of fact and law made by the amended complaint and answer of the defendants thereto. This is a class action by the plaintiffs against the defendants under Civil Rule 23. The defendants are

244 F. Supp. 848
sued as individuals and as officials of the State of Mississippi, County of Forrest and as attorney for the 12th Circuit District of Mississippi. No evidence or testimony was adduced by the plaintiffs to support their charge of the existence of a plan, or conspiracy among the defendants culminating in the passage of House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964; and the Court finds that there was no such plan, or purpose, or design or intendment of House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964; and that no evidence or testimony was adduced by the plaintiffs to show that it was the intent or purpose of said enactment of the Legislature of Mississippi to suppress, deter or in any manner impinge upon, impede or violate any constitutional right of the plaintiffs to free speech, assembly and right to petition for redress of grievances by demonstrating peacefully and lawfully; and more particularly, said Act was not designed or intended to deter, or impede efforts by any citizens to register to vote, or to exercise any other right of a citizen

House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964 was passed into law in Mississippi on April 8, 1964. The courts of Mississippi have not construed the Act, or passed on its constitutionality. The plaintiffs in this case have presented to the county court of Forrest County, Mississippi, a court of general jurisdiction having full jurisdiction of all of the parties and the subject matter hereof, in the case of State of Mississippi v. Ruth Campbell, et al., (including all plaintiffs herein) in Cause No. 7781-7824 on the docket of said court, the question of the constitutional validity of said House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964, by a motion to quash the information, or affidavit on which such prosecution was commenced and will be prosecuted; and that said court in due course duly overruled said motion; and said plaintiffs (defendants there) have the right of appeal from said decision to the circuit court of Forrest County, Mississippi, thence to the Supreme Court of the State of Mississippi, and thence to the Supreme Court of the United States, if necessary or desired, in furtherance of their effective and efficient statutory remedy fully available to them and being currently pursued at this time.

The Court expressly finds under such facts and circumstances that no need or necessity exists for this Court to pass upon the constitutionality of House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964; and that it is the duty of this Court under such circumstances not to pass upon the constitutionality of said enactment, unless absolutely compelled to do so, but that this Court is duty bound to follow decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, and of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which impel this Court to abstain from making any decision on such questions presented under the circumstances stated.

This Court simply does not believe and rejects as false the affidavits presented by the plaintiffs to show that they were engaged in "peaceful" and "lawful" picketing when arrested under this statute on the two occasions in suit. The facts as shown by a clear preponderance of the evidence are to the effect that the plaintiffs in this case did engage in peaceful and thus lawful picketing on other occasions, but that on the occasions in suit when some of the plaintiffs were arrested and charged with violating this Act, that such persons deliberately and intentionally blocked the sidewalk and one of the entrances to the county courthouse in Forrest County, Mississippi, by walking so close together as to make use of such entrance and exit to and from said county courthouse by the officials and business visitors impossible. No peace officers on said scene at any time interfered with the plaintiffs when they picketed in such number and at such distance apart on said sidewalk at such entrance to said public building as to allow other citizens to make reasonable use of such facilities for its intended purpose. The Court, therefore, further finds as a fact that the State of Mississippi is prosecuting the plaintiffs in the state court under said picketing statute in good

244 F. Supp. 849
faith, and is fully entitled under the law to do so to conclusion of such prosecution, but this Court indicates nothing as to the guilt or innocence of the plaintiffs as defendants in said proceedings

The full right of the plaintiffs to free speech, assembly and petition were at all times completely preserved and properly respected by the peace officers at the scene of this incident at all times while the plaintiffs were peacefully and lawfully exercising such well recognized and well known constitutional rights. But these plaintiffs intentionally and deliberately so conducted themselves on these occasions in suit by such a large group of persons appearing in such a small, crowded area and so close together as to flaunt and invade the rights of others entitled to make necessary business use of said public premises by making ingress and egress to and from the courthouse of said county impossible by the presence of such human barriers and obstructions and impediments in said public passageway.

The Court thus further finds from the testimony adduced in this case that no Civil Rights of any plaintiff in this case has been, or was violated, or impinged upon by their arrest and consequent prosecution under the facts and circumstances stated.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This Court has full jurisdiction of the parties to this suit and of the subject matter of this suit; and has the full power and authority to do all that is herein done.

There is no need or necessity for this Court to pass upon the constitutionality of House Bill 546, Mississippi Laws 1964, and this Court, therefore, declines to do so.

The cases impelling abstention by this Court under the facts and circumstances in this case are myriad; and this Court yields to the justice and propriety of such doctrine under the facts and circumstances in this case, and thus abstains from making any decision or disposition of this controversy between these plaintiffs and the state prosecuting authorities. The supporting authorities cited in the accompanying majority opinion of this Court, show and even demonstrate that no constitutional right of any of the plaintiffs will be violated by a prosecution of them under this Act in the state court for such offense with all constitutional safeguards and efficient remedies fully available to them at all times in the state courts. The plaintiffs have commenced, but have not exhausted the efficient and effective remedies and defenses available to them in the state court in said cases and are not entitled to any injunctive relief from this Court against the prosecution of said cases in the state courts.

An injunction is never strictly a matter of right even to prevent irreparable injury, but the right to such writ always reposes within the sound judicial discretion of the Court to which such application is addressed. There is no evidence in this case to show that any danger of irreparable loss to the plaintiffs is either great or immediate, and the Court finds that there are no exceptional circumstances in this case to evoke the issuance by this Court of such extraordinary process. Under the facts and under the rules of applicable law in this case, the plaintiffs are not entitled to any injunctive relief herein.

Accordingly, the amended complaint is not supported by any substantial, credible evidence to support or justify the relief requested. It is the conclusion of this Court in the exercise of its sound judicial discretion, that such extraordinary relief is not due or suggested in this case, and in furtherance of the doctrine of abstention, that the amended complaint of the plaintiffs is without merit and should be dismissed at the cost of the plaintiffs to be taxed under the rules of this Court.

OPINION

Plaintiffs, The Reverend John Earl Cameron and Mrs. Victoria Jackson Gray, filed an original complaint against Paul Johnson, Governor of the State of Mississippi; Joe R. King, County Attorney

244 F. Supp. 850
of Forrest County, Mississippi; James Finch, District Attorney of Forrest County, Mississippi; and Robert Walker, Sheriff of Forrest County, Mississippi, as Defendants, seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction, and attacking the constitutionality of House Bill No. 546 Laws of 1964 of the Legislature of the State of Mississippi. Subsequently they filed an amended bill of complaint by which they substituted James K. Duke in the place and stead of Joe R. King as County Attorney,...

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6 practice notes
  • Cameron v. Johnson, Civ. A. No. 1891(H).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • December 24, 1966
    ...Mize and Cox. Upon full hearing, relief was denied. The findings of fact, conclusions of law, and opinion of the Court are reported at 244 F.Supp. 846 Judge Rives dissented, being of the view that it would be "difficult to conceive of a statute drawn in broader or more vague and sweepi......
  • Cameron v. Johnson, No. 587
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1965
    ...purpose of discouraging appellants' civil rights activities. The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The judgment, 244 F.Supp. 846, is vacated and the cause remanded for reconsideration in light of Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1116. On remand, the Dist......
  • Landry v. Daley, No. 67 C 1863.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 3, 1968
    ...715 (1967) (dissenting opinion). 79 See 380 U.S. at 490, 85 S.Ct. 1116. 80 390 U.S. 611, 88 S.Ct. 1335, 20 L.Ed. 2d 182 (1968). 81 244 F.Supp. 846, 856 82 Id. at 848, 851-855. 83 Id. at 848-849. 84 381 U.S. 741, 85 S.Ct. 1751, 14 L.Ed. 2d 715 (1965). 85 Id. at 748-749, 85 S.Ct. 1751 (Justic......
  • Ware v. Nichols, No. GC6511.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • February 8, 1967
    ...free expression, or as applied for the purpose of discouraging protected activities. See also Cameron v. Johnson, S.D.Miss. 1964, 244 F.Supp. 846, rev'd, 1965, 381 U.S. 741, 85 S.Ct. 1751, 14 L.Ed.2d 715, involving the constitutionality of the Mississippi Anti-Picketing Statute (Section 231......
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6 cases
  • Cameron v. Johnson, Civ. A. No. 1891(H).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • December 24, 1966
    ...Mize and Cox. Upon full hearing, relief was denied. The findings of fact, conclusions of law, and opinion of the Court are reported at 244 F.Supp. 846 Judge Rives dissented, being of the view that it would be "difficult to conceive of a statute drawn in broader or more vague and sweepi......
  • Cameron v. Johnson, No. 587
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 7, 1965
    ...purpose of discouraging appellants' civil rights activities. The motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis is granted. The judgment, 244 F.Supp. 846, is vacated and the cause remanded for reconsideration in light of Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479, 85 S.Ct. 1116. On remand, the Dist......
  • Landry v. Daley, No. 67 C 1863.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • July 3, 1968
    ...715 (1967) (dissenting opinion). 79 See 380 U.S. at 490, 85 S.Ct. 1116. 80 390 U.S. 611, 88 S.Ct. 1335, 20 L.Ed. 2d 182 (1968). 81 244 F.Supp. 846, 856 82 Id. at 848, 851-855. 83 Id. at 848-849. 84 381 U.S. 741, 85 S.Ct. 1751, 14 L.Ed. 2d 715 (1965). 85 Id. at 748-749, 85 S.Ct. 1751 (Justic......
  • Ware v. Nichols, No. GC6511.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Mississippi
    • February 8, 1967
    ...free expression, or as applied for the purpose of discouraging protected activities. See also Cameron v. Johnson, S.D.Miss. 1964, 244 F.Supp. 846, rev'd, 1965, 381 U.S. 741, 85 S.Ct. 1751, 14 L.Ed.2d 715, involving the constitutionality of the Mississippi Anti-Picketing Statute (Section 231......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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