Freedom of association

From Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought
Jump to: navigation, search

Freedom of association is the right to join or leave groups of a person's own choosing. This right is commonly denied as part of a sentence imposed upon those convicted of crimes. In Malone v. U.S.[1], the defendant was found guilty of a unlawfully exporting firearms to the United Kingdom. The court ordered "4. That he belong to no Irish organizations, cultural or otherwise; 5. That he not belong or participate in any Irish Catholic organizations or groups; 6. That he not visit any Irish pubs; 7. That he accept no employment that directly or indirectly associates him with any Irish organization or movement". The court noted "The question is, has the Court abused its discretion and acted unreasonably in its effort to prevent the appellant from activities or participation in or contact with groups or organizations that might fan his emotions or in any way cause his mind to dwell on subjects or activities which would conceivably encourage him to commit criminal acts of the nature here involved?" and upheld the conditions.

In U.S. v. Bolinger, the court ruled "Probation conditions may seek to prevent reversion into a former crime-inducing lifestyle by barring contact with old haunts and associates, even though the activities may be legal."[2] These restrictions, then, are based on the theory of incapacitation and/or rehabilitation.


  1. Malone v. U.S., 502 F.2d 554 (9th Cir. 29 August 1974).
  2. U.S. v. Bolinger, 940 F.2d 478 (30 July 1991).