Butler v. Dexter,
425 U.S. 262 (1976)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Butler v. Dexter, 425 U.S. 262 (1976)

Butler v. Dexter

No. 75-623

Decided April 19, 1976

425 U.S. 262


This Court has no jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1253 over an appeal from a three-judge District Court's order enjoining appellants from prosecuting appellee theater operator on the felony charge that his motion picture projector used to exhibit an allegedly obscene film was a "criminal instrument" under § 16.01 of the Texas Penal Code. The ground for the injunction was not that § 16.01 was unconstitutional, but that the local officials had acted in bad faith and unconstitutionally in using that statute (which the District Court found could "by no stretch of the imagination" be read as applying) as a pretext for forcing appellee to stop exhibiting the film, without any design to convict him on the felony charge. Since a three-judge court was therefore not required, the appeal should have been taken to the Court of Appeals.

404 F.Supp. 33, vacated and remanded.

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