People v. Woody (1964)

In People v. Woody, the Supreme Court of California reversed a lower court conviction for possession of peyote, finding that the religious use of peyote was protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. People v. Woody was the first major court case to uphold the right of American Indians to use peyote in accordance with their religious traditions.

The events leading up to People v. Woody occurred on April 28, 1962, when a group of Navajo met in the desert near Needles, California, to perform a religious ceremony involving the use of peyote. The defendants, who were among the participants, were later arrested by police officers who had witnessed part of the ceremony. The defendants were tried in the Superior Court of San Bernardino ...

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