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Brief for Respondent

Questions Presented

1. Will this Court review a state jury verdict in a private common law libel action, embodied in a final state judgment and affirmed by a state's highest appellate court, when alleged federal questions asserted in this Court were not timely raised below in accordance with state procedure, and when there is nothing in the record to support the allegations of the petition and brief?

2. Is there a constitutionally guaranteed absolute privilege to defame an elected city official, under guise of criticism, in a paid newspaper advertisement so that participants in the publication of this defamation are immune from private common law libel judgment in a state court in circumstances where, because of the admitted falsity of the publication, the participants are unable to plead truth, privilege or retraction (to show good faith and eliminate punitive damages)?

3. Are libelous utterances in a paid newspaper advertisement within the area of constitutionally protected speech and press?

1 To conserve the time of this Court the brief filed by this respondent in No. 39, New York Times Company v. Sullivan, will be referred to throughout this brief when the same issues have been covered there.

4. When persons whose names appear on a defamatory newspaper advertisement as "warm endorsers" of the advertisement do not deny participation in its publication in response to a demand for retraction which charges publication, and ratify by silence, and when there is other evidence of authority for use of their names on the advertisement, will this Court re-examine a state jury verdict of liability in a private common law libel action, embodied in a final judgment affirmed by the highest state appellate court on a record which a Federal Court of Appeals has found to contain state questions of "substance" which could "go either way." on a bare assertion that the same record is totally devoid of evidence of petitioners' participation in the publication of this defamatory advertisement?

5. When an admittedly false newspaper advertisement charges that city police massively engaged in rampant, vicious, terroristic and criminal actions in deprivation of the rights of others, is a state court holding in a private common law libel action that such an utterance is libelous as a matter of state law—leaving to the jury the questions of publication, identification with the police commissioner, and damages—an infringement of constitutional rights of a participant in the publication of the libel?

6. When a paid newspaper advertisement published in circumstances described in Questions 2 and 4 contains admittedly false charges described in Question 5 about police action in a named city, may this Court consistently with its decisions and the 7th Amendment review on certiorari a state jury finding that the publication is "of and concerning" the city police commissioner whose name does not appear in the publication, and an award of general and punitive damages to him, when this state jury verdict embodied in a final state judgment has been approved by the state's highest appellate court?

7. May this Court consistently with its decisions and the 7th Amendment re-examine facts tried by a state jury when those findings have been embodied in a final state judgment affirmed by the highest state appellate court, and when review is sought on assertions that the verdict is wrong and the general and punitive libel damages merely excessive?

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Brief for Respondent - On Writ Of Certiorari To The Supreme Court Of Alabamabrief For Respondent1, Questions Presented, Statement