Hammond v. Brown

323 F. Supp. 326 (1971)

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Hammond v. Brown

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
323 F. Supp. 326 (1971)

Facts

Following an incident at Kent State University (Kent State) in which four students were shot and killed by National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest in 1970, the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest issued a special grand jury report (the special report). Among the report’s conclusions was that Kent State professors and administrators were largely to blame for the incident. The report found that Kent State professors and administrators laid the seeds for the unrest that occurred by overemphasizing dissent, encouraging rebellion, and focusing only on negative aspects of the government. The special report also claimed that Kent State was so poorly mismanaged that it was incapable of responding to a situation such as the one that occurred. Kenneth Hammond (plaintiff), along with several other individuals, some of whom were charged with inciting a riot following the incident, filed suit against Ohio Attorney General Paul Brown (defendant) and the Portage County clerk of courts (defendant). In another case, members of the Kent State faculty (Kent State faculty) (plaintiffs) filed an action for declaratory and injunctive relief, seeking to have the special report expunged, naming Brown as a defendant. The cases were consolidated. Kent State faculty alleged numerous First Amendment violations, arguing that the special report would have a chilling effect on free speech and would inhibit academic freedom. Several Kent State faculty testified about changes they made following the release of the report.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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