FREEDMAN v. MARYLAND

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
69
Appellee 
Maryland
Appellant 
Freedman
Opinion 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the appellant)
(Argued the cause for the appellee)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Maryland required that all films be submitted to a board of censors before being exhibited. The board could disapprove films that were obscene, debased or corrupted morals, or tended to incite crime. There was no time limit on the decision-making process. Ronald Freedman challenged the law as unconstitutional due to the procedures to obtain approval. He did not suggest that prior approval itself was unconstitutional.

Question 

Did the the Maryland law violate the freedom of expression protected by the First Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 9 votes for Freedman, 0 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 1: Speech, Press, and Assembly

The Court found the Maryland law to be invalid. The Court decision reflected a concern that the statute provides the danger of "unduly suppressing protected expression." The board was allowed overly broad licensing discretion with a lack of statutory provisions for judicial participation in the the procedure to prohibit a film. The Court established three guidelines as adequate safeguards to protect against the "undue inhibition of protected expression." These guidelines are to: (1) place the burden of proving the film is unprotected expression on the censors, (2) require judicial determination to impose a valid determination, and (3) require prompt determination "within a specified time period."

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FREEDMAN v. MARYLAND. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1964/1964_69>.
FREEDMAN v. MARYLAND, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1964/1964_69 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"FREEDMAN v. MARYLAND," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1960-1969/1964/1964_69.