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Mapp v. Ohio

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Mapp v. Ohio

On May 23, 1957, police officers in a Cleveland, Ohio suburb received information that a suspect of a bombing case, as well as some illegal betting equipment, might be found in the home of Dollree Mapp. Three officers went to the home and asked for permission to enter, but Mapp refused to let them in without a search warrant. Two officers left, and one remained. Three hours later, the two returned with several other officers with a piece of paper and broke in the door. Mapp asked to see the warrant and took it from an officer, putting it in her dress. The officers struggled with Mapp and took the piece of paper away from her and handcuffed her for being “belligerent.” Police found neither the bombing suspect nor the betting equipment during their search, but they did discover some pornographic material in a suitcase in Mapp’s basement. Mapp said that she had loaned the suitcase to a roommate at one time and that the contents were not her property.  Mapp was charged with violating Ohio state law that prohibits “lewd, lascivious, or obscene material.” She was convicted and sentenced to one to seven years in prison – no search warrant was introduced as evidence at her trial. Mapp had to write a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari – A document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court.  It includes a list of the parties, a statement of the facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review, and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ. After she was charged for the possession of pornographic materials, she wanted her case to be seen by the Supreme Court so they could overrule the state court’s findings. The argument in her favor was that the police, who possessed no warrant to search Mapp's property, had acted improperly by searching her house. Any incriminating evidence found during the search should, therefore, be thrown out of court and her...

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