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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Facts of the Case 

A flyer identifying "active shoplifters" was distributed to merchants in the Louisville, Kentucky area. The flyer included a photograph of Edward C. Davis III, who had been arrestedon a shoplifting charge. When the charge was dismissed, Davis brought an action against Edgar Paul, the Louisville chief of police. Davis alleged that the distribution of the flyer had stigmatized him and deprived him of his constitutional rights.


Did the distribution of the flyer violate Davis's right to privacy and liberty under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?

Decision: 5 votes for Paul, 3 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (42 USC 1983)

In a 5-to-3 decision, the Court held that Davis had not been deprived of any constitutional rights under the Due Process Clause. The Court also emphasized that constitutional privacy interests did not cover Davis's claims. The Court argued that the constitutional right to privacy was limited to matters relating to "marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, and child rearing and education." The publication of records of official acts, such as arrests, did not fall under the rubric of privacy rights.

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PAUL v. DAVIS. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 30 August 2015. <>.
PAUL v. DAVIS, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 30, 2015).
"PAUL v. DAVIS," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 30, 2015,