Constitutional Law- Due Process- Conviction Without Evidence of Guilt
Petitioner was convicted in the Police Court of Louisville, Kentucky, of two offenses. After seeing petitioner “dancing by himself” on the dance floor, the police charged him with loitering; when he became argumentative about this arrest, he was also charged with disorderly conduct. Although he protested that he had come into the restaurant where he was arrested to “wait on a bus” and have a meal, he was nevertheless taken into custody. At the trial the arresting officer testified that the manager had told him that petitioner had been there “a little over a half hour and that he had not bought anything.” The city offered no other evidence against petitioner except a record showing fifty-four previous arrests. The police court sitting without a jury found petitioner guilty and fined him ten dollars on each charge. Further state review of the case was unavailable. On certiorari to the United States Supreme Court, held, reversed. It is a violation of due process of law under the fourteenth amendment to convict a person without evidence of his guilt. Thompson v. City of Louisville, 362 U.S. 199 (1960).