City of Chicago v. Terminiello, No. 30365.

CourtIllinois Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtWILSON
Citation400 Ill. 23,79 N.E.2d 39
PartiesCITY OF CHICAGO v. TERMINIELLO.
Decision Date13 May 1948
Docket NumberNo. 30365.

400 Ill. 23
79 N.E.2d 39

CITY OF CHICAGO
v.
TERMINIELLO.

No. 30365.

Supreme Court of Illinois.

March 18, 1948.
Rehearing Denied May 13, 1948.


Appeal from First Division Appellate Court, First District, on Appeal from Municipal Court of Chicago; John V. McCormick, Judge.

Arthur Terminiello was found guilty of disorderly conduct in violation of ordinance of City of Chicago, which conviction was affirmed by Appellate Court for the First District, 332 Ill.App. 17, 74 N.E.2d 45, after transfer of direct appeal by Supreme Court, 396 Ill. 441,71 N.E.2d 2, and the defendant appeals by permission.

Affirmed.

[79 N.E.2d 40]

Maximilian J. St. George and Albert W. Dilling, both of Chicago, for appellant.

[79 N.E.2d 41]

Benjamin S. Adamowski, Corp. Counsel, of Chicago (L. Louis Karton, A. A. Pantelis, and Harry A. Iseberg, all of Chicago, of counsel), for appellee.


WILSON, Justice.

A jury in the municipal court of Chicago found the defendant, Arthur W. Terminiello, guilty of the offense of disorderly conduct, in violation of a city ordinance. Judgment was rendered on the verdict and defendant was fined $100. Upon direct appeal, we transferred the cause to the Appellate Court for the First District, no constitutional question being presented so as to confer jurisdiction on this court. City of Chicago v. Terminiello, 396 Ill. 41, 71 N.E.2d 2. The Appellate Court affirmed. City of Chicago v. Terminiello, 332 Ill.App. 17, 74 N.E.2d 45. We have allowed defendant's petition for leave to appeal.

The action grows out of a meeting held in an auditorium in Chicago on February 7, 1946. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Christian Veterans of America, Frederick Kister, director. Printed invitations, signed by Gerald L. K. Smith, were sent to persons on a mailing list. Each invitation was accompanied by several cards of admission. The invitations announced that Father Arthur W. Terminiello was the ‘radio Priest of the South;’ that he ‘is responsible more than any other single individual in America for bringing about the investigation of the Pearl Harbor scandal;’ that he ‘has been referred to by many as the Father Coughlin of the South,’ and that ‘the same people who hate Father Coughlin hate Father Terminiello’ and ‘have persecuted him, hounded him, threatened him.’ With reference to the extra admission cards, the notices read as follows: ‘These cards will go like hot cakes! Everyone you see will want them. Therefore, make wise distribution of them.’ Each card states that it will admit the bearer and one friend and that admission is by card only.

The meeting was well attended. Persons desiring to hear defendant speak filled the 800-seat auditorium to capacity, others stood in the rear and about 250 were turned away. An hour before the meeting, a strong picket line was formed in front of the auditorium. The number in the picket line gradually increased to several hundred and a crowd estimated at 1000 persons gathered outside to protest the meeting. Despite the presence of approximately seventy policemen, a number of disorders occurred. Some persons braved the picket line. Others were escorted by police. Friends were separated. Clothing was torn. Missiles of all kinds were thrown at the building. Twenty- eight windows were broken. Stench bombs fell on the steps to the auditorium. Forty boys in a flying wedge bowled over policemen forming a cordon on the steps and almost broke into the hall. Other attempts were made to rush the meeting. Part of the mob tried to bash down the rear door of the auditorium. All during the evening there was much noise. Cries of ‘Nazis,’ ‘damned Fascists' and ‘Hitlers' greeted those attending the meeting and frequently the crowd shouted and chanted in unison.

Several persons took tickets at the door. Most of those attending the meeting entered by card of admission. Many came in without cards. The mailing list of persons to whom invitations and cards had been sent was not introduced in evidence nor was there any testimony relative to the source and composition of the list.

Smith opened the meeting and was followed by Kister and Terminiello. A transcript of defendant's speech was introduced in evidence. The following excerpts are illustrative: ‘Now, I am going to whisper my greetings to you, Fellow Christians. * * * I suppose there are some of the scum got in by mistake, so I want to tell a story about the scum. * * * nothing that I would say can begin to express the contempt I have for that howling mob on the outside. * * * And nothing I could say tonight could begin to express the contempt I have for the slimy scum that got in by mistake. * * * The subject I want to talk to you tonight about is the attempt that is going on right outside this hall tonight, the attempt that is going on to destroy America by revolution. * * * millions more through Eastern Europe at the close of the war are being murdered by those murderous Russians, hurt, being raped and sent into slavery. That is what

[79 N.E.2d 42]

they want for you, that howling mob outside. * * *

‘All of it (Communism in America) can be traced into the great Red menace by the New Deal in Washington. * * * First of all we had Queen Eleanor. * * * Then we have Henry Adolph Wallace * * *. Now, my friends, they are planning another ruse * * * are going to try to put into Mr. Edgar Hoover's position a man by the name of George Schwarzwald. * * * Didn't you ever read the Morgenthau plan for the starvation of little babies and pregnant women in Germany? * * * Why should every child in Germany today not live to be more than two or three months of age? Because Morgenthau wants it that way, and so did F. D. R. * * * You will know who is behind it when I tell you the story of a doctor in Akron, Ohio. He boasted to a friend of mine within the last few days, while he was in the service of this country as a doctor, he and others of his kind made it a practice-now, this was not only one man-made it a practice to amputate the limbs of every German they came in contact with whenever they could get away with it; so that they never could carry a gun. * * * The nurses, they tell me, are going to inject diseases in them, syphilis and other diseases in every one that came there, all of one race, all non-Christians. * * *

‘Now, let me say, I am going to talk about-I almost said, about the Jews. Of course, I would not want to say that. However, I am going to talk about some Jews. * * * We must take a Christian attitude. I don't want you to go from this hall with hatred in your heart for any person, for no person. * * * We must love every person * * *. We must not love particularly the criminals among those people. * * * we must condemn the criminals even if they are Jews. We must condemn Communists wherever we find them * * *. But the moment we point to a man and say that man is a Communist, or that his name happens to be Ginsberg, then we are considered to be anti-Semitic. * * * Now this danger which we face-let us call them Zionist Jews if you will, let's call them atheistic, communistic Jewish or Zionist Jews, then let us not fear to condemn them. * * * We must not lock ourselves up in an upper room for fear of the Jews. I speak of the Communistic Zionistic Jew, and those are not American Jews. We don't want them here; we want them to go back where they came from. We are going to stand one and all together and form a solid phalanx of courage and loyalty and strength, and oppose every attempt to breach freedom of speech in America, every attempt to dilute Christianity in America, every attempt to undermine the morality of America, every attempt to shed American blood to promote Zionism in America * * *.’

The testimony relative to the reaction of the audience during the speech is conflicting. The complaining witness, Ira Latimer, stated that the audience did not merely cheer and applaud; that the people were disturbed and angry, and that the reference to the actions of non-Christian doctors and nurses in Germany drew ‘Ahs,’ ‘Ohs' and other expressions of anger from the audience. Lucille Lipman, a Quaker of Irish extraction, testified that when...

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10 practice notes
  • Grayned v. City of Rockford 8212 5106, No. 70
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1972
    ...to cause acts of violence,' upheld); Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576, 592, 89 S.Ct. 1354, 1365 (1969). 19. Cf. Chicago v. Terminiello, 400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39 (1948), reversed on other grounds, 337 U.S. 1, 6, 69 S.Ct. 894, 896, 93 L.Ed. 1131 (1949). 20. Some intermediate appellate courts......
  • Collin v. Smith, No. 77 C 2982.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • February 23, 1978
    ...problem since Terminiello's speech had been so offensive and insulting that it was unprotected under Cantwell and Chaplinsky. See 400 Ill. 23, 34-35, 79 N.E.2d 39 (1948). The Supreme Court reversed without even considering whether the speech was unprotected. Inviting dispute, creating unres......
  • City of Chicago v. Lord, Gen. Nos. 46231
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 12, 1954
    ...an action for a violation of a municipal ordinance is both tried and reviewed as a civil proceeding, City of Chicago v. Terminiello, 400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39; City of Chicago v. Williams, 254 Ill. 360, 98 N.E. 666, this does not preclude a violation of a municipal ordinance, subjecting the......
  • Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America, Nos. 77-628 and 77-662
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • July 12, 1977
    ...Ill.App. 17, 74 N.E.2d 45.) At issue was whether defendant's statements constituted "fighting words." The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed (400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39), but the United States Supreme Court decided the case on other "The argument here has been focused on the issue of whether th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Grayned v. City of Rockford 8212 5106, No. 70
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1972
    ...to cause acts of violence,' upheld); Street v. New York, 394 U.S. 576, 592, 89 S.Ct. 1354, 1365 (1969). 19. Cf. Chicago v. Terminiello, 400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39 (1948), reversed on other grounds, 337 U.S. 1, 6, 69 S.Ct. 894, 896, 93 L.Ed. 1131 (1949). 20. Some intermediate appellate courts......
  • Collin v. Smith, No. 77 C 2982.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • February 23, 1978
    ...problem since Terminiello's speech had been so offensive and insulting that it was unprotected under Cantwell and Chaplinsky. See 400 Ill. 23, 34-35, 79 N.E.2d 39 (1948). The Supreme Court reversed without even considering whether the speech was unprotected. Inviting dispute, creating unres......
  • City of Chicago v. Lord, Gen. Nos. 46231
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • November 12, 1954
    ...an action for a violation of a municipal ordinance is both tried and reviewed as a civil proceeding, City of Chicago v. Terminiello, 400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39; City of Chicago v. Williams, 254 Ill. 360, 98 N.E. 666, this does not preclude a violation of a municipal ordinance, subjecting the......
  • Village of Skokie v. National Socialist Party of America, Nos. 77-628 and 77-662
    • United States
    • Illinois Appellate Court
    • July 12, 1977
    ...Ill.App. 17, 74 N.E.2d 45.) At issue was whether defendant's statements constituted "fighting words." The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed (400 Ill. 23, 79 N.E.2d 39), but the United States Supreme Court decided the case on other "The argument here has been focused on the issue of whether th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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