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Case Basics
Docket No. 
(for the petitioners (argument and reargument))
(for the respondent (argument and reargument))
(for the respondent)
(Solicitor General, Department of Justice, as amicus curiae by special leave of Court)
(on reargument for the United States as amicus curiae by special leave of Court)
Facts of the Case 

On June 30, 1960, several white and black people picketed the private Glen Echo Amusement Park in Montgomery County, Maryland. The demonstrators protested against the park's policy "not to have colored people on the rides, or in the park." During the demonstration, William Griffin and four other Negroes entered the park to test its management's resolve. A state deputy, who worked as a security staff member in the park, soon observed them. After informing them of the park's racial policy, the deputy asked them to leave. When Griffin and his friends refused, they were arrested and later convicted for criminal trespass. State appellate courts affirmed the convictions. The Supreme Court granted certiorari.


Did ordering five Negro patrons to leave a private amusement park, and arresting them for criminal trespass when they refused, violate their right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment?

Decision: 6 votes for Griffin, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

Yes. The Court held that the arresting deputy, despite working as a private park employee at the time, possessed and acted under state authority, imputing responsibility for his actions to Maryland. Therefore, to the extent that he sought to enforce a private policy of racial discrimination, the state of Maryland must be charged with racial discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Cite this Page
GRIFFIN v. MARYLAND. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
GRIFFIN v. MARYLAND, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"GRIFFIN v. MARYLAND," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,