The petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia is reversed, and the case is remanded for proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.
The petitioner, Ford T. Johnson, Jr., was convicted of contempt of the Traffic Court of the City of Richmond, Virginia, and appealed his conviction to the Hustings Court, where he was tried without a jury and again convicted. The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia refused to grant a writ of error on the ground that the judgment appealed from was "plainly right," but the Chief Justice of that court stayed execution of the judgment pending disposition of this petition for certiorari.
The evidence at petitioner's trial in the Hustings Court is summarized in an approved statement of facts. According to this statement, the witnesses for the State testified as follows: The petitioner, a Negro, was seated in the Traffic Court in a section reserved for whites, and
It is clear from the totality of circumstances, and particularly the fact that the petitioner was peaceably seated in the section reserved for whites before being summoned to the bench, that the arrest and conviction rested entirely on the refusal to comply with the segregated seating requirements imposed in this particular courtroom. Such a conviction cannot stand, for it is no longer open to question that a State may not constitutionally require segregation of public facilities. See, e. g., Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483; Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Dawson, 350 U.S. 877; Turner v. Memphis, 369 U.S. 350. State-compelled segregation in a court of justice is a manifest violation of the State's duty to deny no one the equal protection of its laws.
Reversed and remanded.