Freedman v. Maryland

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Freedman v. Maryland
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided March 1, 1965


In 1965, Maryland law required a state board of censors to review movies for

  1. obscenity
  2. moral corruption
  3. likelihood of inciting crime.
Ronald Freedman was a theater owner in Baltimore, Maryland in the 1960s. Freedman was fined for not seeking permission from the state prior to exhibiting his movie.

Procedural History

Freeman loses in Maryland court & appealed to SCOTUS.


Without procedural safeguards of timely & impartial review of censors, can a state require prior restraint of movies in accordance with the US Constitution?


Freedman argued that the Maryland land was an unconstitutional prior restraint on his freedom of expression under the 1st Amendment?


Maryland has violated the US Constitution by censoring films prior to public viewing in movie theaters because timely & impartial review of censorship decisions were lacking.