Felton (plaintiff) was arrested and his property was confiscated after for conducting fishing activities beyond the territorial limits of the state of Florida in violation of a state statute. Felton then brought a civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Florida state officials, including Hodges (defendant), claiming the state law they had enforced violated his constitutional rights. Felton had placed his crawfish traps in a group of reefs adjacent to the Florida Keys. The state law in question regulated activities of Florida fishermen “within or without the boundaries of such state waters.” The district court granted Hodges’ motion to dismiss and Felton appealed, arguing that the statute was unconstitutional.