1962 November 23

Son of Supreme Court Justice Douglas Spends Night in Jail to Assert His Rights


William O. Douglas, Jr., son of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, had spent a night in jail in Los Angeles to assert his right not to identify himself to the police. The incident occurred several months earlier, but only came to light on this day. The 30-year-old Douglas was walking alone at night at about 10 p.m. when he was stopped by the police and asked to show some identification. He refused, telling the officers “If you want to charge me with something, go ahead. But I don’t think I should tell you who I am just to satisfy your curiosity.” He was then arrested and booked into jail as “John Doe.”

He was later released without the police ever knowing who his father was. The younger Douglas had been an actor in Hollywood for about five years at the time of the incident.

Learn more about Supreme Court Justice Douglas: Bruce Allen Murphy, The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas (2003)

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