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Patterson v. Colorado
United States Supreme Court
205 U.S. 454 (1907)
Thomas Patterson (defendant) was a director and principal shareholder of a publishing company that owned two Colorado newspapers for which Patterson was the manager and editor-in-chief. The newspapers had printed articles and a cartoon criticizing the Colorado Supreme Court’s decisions regarding the constitutionality of an amendment to the state constitution changing certain political processes in the state. The court had ruled that the amendment was unconstitutional. The articles and cartoon suggested that the decision was without any proper basis and that the judges were politically motivated. In a criminal-contempt proceeding brought against Patterson in the state supreme court by the attorney general, the court found Patterson guilty of common-law criminal contempt and imposed a fine. Patterson appealed and argued that the articles and cartoon were not contemptuous, and they were not written when the case was pending.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)
Dissent (Harlan, J.)
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