Hardyman v. Collins, 8004-Y.

Decision Date04 October 1948
Docket NumberNo. 8004-Y.,8004-Y.
Citation80 F. Supp. 501
PartiesHARDYMAN et al. v. COLLINS et al.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of California


Loren Miller, Edmund Cooke, Mortimer Vogel, Thelma Herzing, and William B. Esterman, all of Los Angeles, Cal., Jane Grodzins, of Hollywood, Cal., and A. L. Wirin, of Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiffs.

George Penney and Robert M. Newell, both of Los Angeles, Cal., for defendants.

YANKWICH, District Judge.

I. The Civil Rights Statute and Its Implications

The action is instituted under the first clause of Subdivision (3) of Section 47 of Title 8 U.S.C.A., which reads:

"If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws; or if two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President, or as a Member of Congress of the United States; or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy; in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages, occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators."

The object of this enactment is to give to persons injured as the result of the three types of conspiracies it designates, a claim for damages against the participants.

It is implemented by Subdivision (1) of Section 1343 of Title 28 U.S.C.A., in effect September 1, 1948, which is a re-codification of Section 41(12) of the old Title 28 U.S.C.A., which, in turn, reads:

"The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action authorized by law to be commenced by any person:

"(1) To recover damages for injury to his person or property, or because of the deprivation of any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, by any act done in furtherance of any conspiracy mentioned in section 47 of Title 8".

It is beyond dispute that the Government of the United States may exercise, within the limits of its sovereignty, and upon the soil which is a part of the United States, its powers and functions.1

From this flows the power of the Congress of the United States to secure, through criminal or civil sanctions, the protection of the rights which the Constitution guarantees to individuals. The scope of such legislation and the type of the rights to the protection of which it may be directed, is well stated in Re Quarles and Butler:2

"The United States are a nation, whose powers of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, within the sphere of action confided to it by the Constitution, are supreme and paramount. Every right, created by, arising under, or dependent upon the constitution, may be protected and enforced by such means and in such manner as congress, in the exercise of the correlative duty of protection, or of the legislative powers conferred upon it by the constitution, may in its discretion deem most eligible and best adapted to attain the object. Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 293, 12 S.Ct. 617, 36 L.Ed. 429.

"Section 5508 of the Revised Statutes 18 U.S.C.A. § 241 provides for the punishment of conspiracies `to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same.'

"Among the rights and privileges which have been recognized by this court to be secured to citizens of the United States by the constitution are the right to petition congress for a redress of grievances (United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553, 23 L.Ed. 588); and the right to vote for presidential electors or members of Congress (Ex parte Yarbrough, 110 U.S. 651, 4 S.Ct. 152, 28 L.Ed. 274); and the right of every judicial or executive officer, or other person engaged in the service or kept in the custody of the United States, in the course of the administration of justice, to be protected from lawless violence. There is a peace of the United States, In re Neagle, 135 U.S. 1, 69, 10 S.Ct. 658 34 L.Ed. 55; Logan v. United States, above cited."

II. National or State Rights

We thus find recognition of the following as rights, privileges and immunities stemming from the Constitution of the United States: The right of assembly and to petition the Congress for redress of grievances;3 the right to discuss national legislation or national affairs4; the right to vote for presidential electors and members of the Congress5; the right to protection of person, while in the custody of an officer of the United States6; the right to engage in a profession such as the practice of law before federal courts7; the right to move from state to state.8

At the same time, invasions of purely personal rights, the protection of which is within the domain of state power, does not come under the protective shield of general national sovereignty or of statutes such as the Civil Rights Statute, a portion of which is under consideration here.9 The following rights are in this category: protection against violence when not in the custody of a federal officer10; the right of employment11; the right to exercise freedom of the press12; the right to testify before a grand jury13; the right to employment by public bodies14. The case last referred to contains a very succinct summary of the holdings we have just epitomized: "The statutes which the appellant seeks to invoke were passed shortly after the Civil War to aid in the enforcement of the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibiting State action the effect of which would be to abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States or to deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process or to deny any person the equal protection of the law, and the Fifteenth Amendment prohibiting the denial of the right to vote on account of race or color. See Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60, 78, 38 S.Ct. 16, 62 L.Ed. 149, L.R.A. 1918C, 210, Ann.Cas. 1918A, 1201. The statutes were intended to provide for redress against State action and primarily that which discriminated against individuals within the jurisdiction of the United States. Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization, 307 U.S. 496, 509-514, 59 S.Ct. 954, 83 L.Ed. 1423; Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1, 14-20, 27 S.Ct. 6, 51 L.Ed. 65; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 290, 291, 12 S.Ct. 617, 36 L.Ed. 429. The statutes, while they granted protection to persons from conspiracies to deprive them of the rights secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States (United States v. Mosley, 238 U.S. 383, 387, 388, 35 S.Ct. 904, 59 L.Ed. 1355), did not have the effect of taking into federal control the protection of private rights against invasion by individuals. Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1, 14-20, 27 S.Ct. 6, 51 L.Ed. 65; Logan v. United States, 144 U.S. 263, 282-293, 12 S.Ct. 617, 36 L.Ed. 429. The protection of such rights and redress for such wrongs was left with the States." (Emphasis added.)

Inherent in the problem before us is the view that, as a rule, civil rights "cannot be impaired by the wrongful acts of individuals, unsupported by state authority in the shape of laws, customs, or judicial or executive proceedings."15

This is not to say that the Congress may not, in the exercise of its constitutional power, give a right of action against individuals who conspire to interfere with the exercise of purely national rights.

We postulate that it may, and so stated at the hearing. But, in considering whether it did so in the particular instance, the language of the statute must be considered in the light of these rulings. It is to be noted that, while Section 1343 of Title 28 U.S.C.A. (the jurisdictional section) speaks of "deprivation of any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States", the section creating the substantive rights16 is narrower. It makes the right of action stem from conspiracy aiming to deprive a person "of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws." (Emphasis added.)

The qualifying word "equal" presupposes State action. For, as said by Supreme Court in the Civil Rights Cases17: "The wrongful act of an individual, unsupported by any such authority, is simply a private wrong, or a crime of that individual; an invasion of the rights of the injured party, it is true, whether they affect his person, his property, or his reputation; but if not sanctioned in some way by the state, or not done under state authority, his rights remain in full force, and may presumably be vindicated by resort to the laws of the state for redress. An individual cannot deprive a man of his right to vote, to hold property, to buy and to sell, to sue in the courts, or to be a witness or a juror; he may, by force or fraud, interfere with the enjoyment of the right in a particular case; he may commit an assault against the person, or commit murder, or use ruffian violence at the polls, or slander the...

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12 cases
  • Hoffman v. Halden
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • May 28, 1959
    ...R. Co., 3 Cir., 1945, 151 F.2d 240; Schatte v. International Alliance etc., 9 Cir., 1950, 182 F.2d 158, 166. See Hardyman v. Collins, D.C.S.D.Cal. 1948, 80 F.Supp. 501 and cases collected by Judge Yankwich. The case was reversed by the Ninth Circuit in 183 F.2d 308 which was in turn reverse......
  • Koch v. Zuieback
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of California
    • May 24, 1961
    ...1253; Love v. Chandler, 8 Cir., 1942, 124 F.2d 785, 786; Byrd v. Sexton, 8 Cir., 1960, 277 F.2d 418, 426-427; Hardyman v. Collins, D.C.S.D.Cal. 1948, 80 F.Supp. 501, 505-506. Therefore, although the Civil Rights statutes in general and § 1985(3) in particular are extremely broadly phrased, ......
  • Griffin v. Breckenridge
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fifth Circuit
    • April 29, 1969
    ... ...         This civil rights case, ruled by the majority opinion in Collins v. Hardyman, 1 involves a racially motivated assault committed upon a public highway. Adhering as ... ...
  • Marshall v. Sawyer
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • March 7, 1962
    ...this court which had reversed Judge Yankwich, 9 Cir., 183 F.2d 308. Judge Yankwich, discussing the action, had stated, (Hardyman v. Collins, D.C., 80 F.Supp. 501, 510): "No cases exist where an action either civil or criminal has been maintained against private persons who interfered with s......
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