Case Review

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Mapp v. Ohio

Policy Analysis/Case Review

Abstract

The U. S. Supreme Court Case of Mapp v. Ohio was a turning point in criminal justice. In this landmark case, Fourth Amendment protections were incorporated into the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. This case, among others, evaluated the role of the Fourteenth Amendment and its application to the State judicial systems. There have been some modifications to the rule since the Mapp case decision in 1961.

Mapp v. Ohio
Mapp v. Ohio was a landmark court case in 1961 where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the evidence obtained through illegal searches and seizures by state officers may not be admitted into criminal trials. The ultimate issue for the Court to decide was; can evidence obtained through a search that violated the Fourth Amendment be admissible in state criminal proceedings? Looking through the background, the effects, and the current activity of the courts will help break down the significance of this case. Background

This case evolved in Cleveland, Ohio with a woman named Dollree Mapp. On May 23, 1957, police officers gained information that a bombing suspect, as well as illegal betting equipment, could possibly be found and the Mapp residence. Three police officers went to the residence and asked her permission to come into the house, Dollree refused them without a search warrant. Two officers left, while one stayed. After a few hours the two officers that had left returned with several more officers. Waving a piece of paper around they proceeded to break the door down. Mapp asked to see the “warrant” and took it from the officer and stuffed it in her dress. The officers began to struggle with her in attempts to get the “warrant” back. They put handcuffs on her for being belligerent. During the search of the residence the police found neither the bombing suspect nor any types of illegal betting equipment. However, they did produce pornographic material in a suitcase in close proximity to Mapps bed. She was arrested, prosecuted, and was found to be guilty, and sentenced for the pornographic material. No search warrant was ever produced or introduced as evidence in her trial (Mapp v. Ohio, 1961). She appealed and eventually the case made its way to the Supreme Court. During this time the Federal Government prohibited evidence gathered with warrantless searches, this standard was in effect from the Court’s decision in Weeks v. U.S., (1914). The U. S. Supreme Court ruled and reversed Mapp’s conviction. The ruling in Mapp overturned the ruling applied in the case of Wolf v. Colorado and applied the exclusionary rule to the states. The U.S. Supreme Court unmistakably states in “Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy has been declared enforceable against the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth; it is enforceable against them by the same sanction of exclusion as is used against the Federal Government (Mapp v. Ohio, 1961).” The Due Process Clause is the means by which the Bill of Rights has become binding on state governments as well as on the federal government.

Ground Work
Although Mapp was a landmark case, there are other cases that applied to the rights of citizens and established a set of criteria for actors in the criminal justice system. In Weeks v. United States (1914), the case of Freemont Weeks, involved being arrested without a warrant in his place of employment. Meanwhile, officers had gone to the defendant house, and a neighbor told police where a key to the house was kept, they retrieved the key and entered the house. The officers searched his room and took into possession a variety of papers found, the documents were turned over to the United States marshal. The marshal and officers returned to the house later that day to locate any additional evidence. They were let into the house by possible boarder, and they retrieved letters and envelopes....
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