1965 February 10

Man Convicted for Distributing Anonymous Political Leaflet; NYCLU to Challenge NY Law


A young man was convicted on this day for distributing an anonymous political leaflet, in violation of New York law. The 1942 state law makes it illegal to distribute a political leaflet, for or against any candidate, or commenting on any political party, without providing the name of the printer and the name of the person responsible for the leaflet. The New York Times story reported that similar laws existed in 36 states. The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) announced that it would challenge the conviction and the constitutionality of the law.

Emanuel Redfield, General Counsel for the NYCLU, pointed out that the famous Federalist Papers, written by James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton and was responsible for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, were originally published anonymously.

Learn more about prosecuting anonymous political leaflets here.

Read about the Supreme Court case declaring prosecution of anonymous political leaflets unconstitutional here.


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