Perez v. Ledesma, 401 U.S. 82 (1971), is one of a series of cases that the Supreme Court decided in conjunction with Younger v. Harris. Perez arose from district court decisions granting declaratory and injunctive relief against an obscenity proceeding.
The decision by Justice Hugo L. Black decided that the injunction had improperly interfered with a state criminal prosecution. Consistent with the other decisions issued the same day, Black decided that such actions were only appropriate “in cases of proven harassment or prosecutions undertaken by state officials in bad faith without hope of obtaining a valid conviction and perhaps in other extraordinary circumstances where irreparable injury can be shown.” Black denied that the Court had the power to review one of the actions taken by a single district judge invalidating a local ordinance.
Justice Potter Stewart wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Harry A. Blackmun, emphasizing that the Court had no power to review the actions of the single district judge. Justice William O. Douglas wrote a partial dissent agreeing that the Court had no jurisdiction over part of this litigation but arguing that it should have affirmed the lower court actions in respect to the rest. Justice William J. Brennan Jr. wrote a partial concurrence and a partial dissent, joined by Byron R. White and Thurgood Marshall, in which he would have upheld the declaratory judgment against the constitutionality of the local ordinance.Send Feedback on this article