CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS OF ALABAMA.
Warren, Black, Douglas, Clark, Harlan, Brennan, Stewart, White, Goldberg
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WARREN delivered the opinion of the Court.
The petitioners, both Negro ministers, were tried and convicted in the Birmingham, Alabama, Recorder's Court for aiding and abetting a violation of the city criminal trespass ordinance. The complaint filed with respect to Shuttlesworth charged:
"Comes the City of Birmingham, Alabama, a municipal corporation, and complains that F. L. Shuttlesworth, within twelve months before the beginning of this prosecution, and within the City of Birmingham or the police jurisdiction thereof, did incite or aid or abet in the violation of an ordinance of the City, to-wit, Section 1436*fn1 of the General City Code of Birmingham of 1944, in that F. L. Shuttlesworth did incite or aid or abet another person to go or remain on the premises of another after being warned not to do so, contrary to and in violation of Section 824*fn2 of the General City Code of Birmingham of 1944." (Footnotes added.)
An identical complaint was filed charging Billups.
On appeal to the Circuit Court petitioners received a trial de novo and were again convicted. Petitioner Shuttlesworth was sentenced to 180 days in jail at hard labor
and a fine of $100. Petitioner Billups was sentenced to 30 days and a fine of $25. On further appeal to the Alabama Court of Appeals the convictions were affirmed. 41 Ala. App. 318, 319, 134 So. 2d 213, 215. The Alabama Supreme Court denied writs of certiorari. 273 Ala. 704, 713, 134 So. 2d 214, 215. Because of the grave constitutional questions involved, we granted certiorari. 370 U.S. 934.
Though petitioners took separate appeals, they were jointly tried in the Circuit Court. The evidence is sketchy in character. Only one witness testified, a city detective who had listened to petitioners' trial in the Recorder's Court.*fn3 The detective testified to his recollection of the testimony of two college boys whom (among others) petitioners were alleged to have incited to commit the criminal trespass.
These two boys were James E. Gober and James Albert Davis. They were convicted of criminal trespass in a separate proceeding subsequent to petitioners' trial. In Gober v. City of Birmingham, post, p. 374, decided this day, we hold on the authority of Peterson v. City of Greenville, ante, p. 244, that the convictions of Gober and Davis are constitutionally invalid. The detective stated that in the Recorder's Court Gober and Davis had testified as follows:
James Gober and James Albert Davis, both Negro college students, went to the home of petitioner, Rev. Shuttlesworth, on March 30, 1960, where there were other college students. Petitioner, Rev. Billups, drove Davis there, and Billups was present when Shuttlesworth asked for volunteers to participate in "sit-down demonstrations." Gober "testified ...