Mapp v. Ohio

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Mapp v. Ohio
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 29, 1961
Decided June 19, 1961
Full case nameDollree Mapp v. State of Ohio
Citations367 U.S. 643 (more)
81 S. Ct. 1684; 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081; 1961 U.S. LEXIS 812; 86 Ohio L. Abs. 513; 16 Ohio Op. 2d 384; 84 A.L.R.2d 933
Prior historyDefendant convicted, Cuyahoga County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas; affirmed, Ohio Court of Appeals; affirmed, 166 N.E.2d 387 (Ohio 1960)
Subsequent historyRehearing denied, 368 U.S. 871 (1961)
The Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth, excludes unconstitutionally obtained evidence from use in criminal prosecutions. Ohio Supreme Court reversed.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Associate Justices
Hugo Black · Felix Frankfurter
William O. Douglas · Tom C. Clark
John M. Harlan II · William J. Brennan, Jr.
Charles E. Whittaker · Potter Stewart
Case opinions
MajorityClark, joined by Warren, Black, Douglas, Brennan
DissentHarlan, joined by Frankfurter, Whittaker
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. IV, XIV
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
Wolf v. Colorado

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), was a landmark decision in criminal procedure. The United States Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment may not be used at trial in a state court.[1]

Circumstances[change | change source]

On May 23, 1957, in Cleveland, Ohio, three police officers arrived at the home of a Miss Mapp, the appellant.[1] The officers said they had information a bombing suspect was in the house and demanded entry.[1] After telephoning her attorney, she refused to admit them without a search warrant.[1] The officers watched the house until more officers arrived.[1] Three hours later and with four more police officers, they again demanded entrance to the home.[2] When Mapp did not come to the door immediately, a door was forced open and the police entered.[2] At about the same time, Mapp's attorney arrived, but was refused permission to see his client or to enter the home.[a][2] When Mapp was halfway down the stairs she demanded to see the search warrant.[2] A piece of paper was flashed at her which she grabbed and hid on her person.[b][2] The officers grabbed her to physically recover the paper.[2] The paper was not a warrant.[6] The police did not find the bombing suspect.[6] However, they did find books and photographs they said were sexually explicit.[6] At trial, the prosecution did not produce a search warrant or prove one was ever issued.[7] Mapp was convicted of violating Ohio state law prohibiting “lewd, lascivious, or obscene material.”[6] She was sentenced to one to seven years in prison.[6] Mapp appealed the conviction based on her First Amendment rights.[c]

Ohio Supreme Court[change | change source]

The Supreme Court of Ohio heard the case. The court believed an argument could be made for reversing the case because of the way the evidence was obtained. But they did not determine the evidence was taken from Mapp's person by the use of brutalforce against the defendant. They added that even if the search was made without authority, it could be used at the state trial. They ruled the Fourteenth Amendment does not forbid the admission of evidence gained by unreasonable search and seizure. Therefore, her appeal was denied.

US Supreme Court decision[change | change source]

In their decision, the court ruled in favor of Mapp and overturned her conviction.[9] In the 6-3 decision, the court found the states were also required to exclude evidence seized in violation of a person's Fourth Amendment rights. They stated that any evidence obtained in searches and seizures that violated the Constitution were not admissible in state courts. Otherwise, there would be no right against unreasonable search and seizure. Associate justice Tom C. Clark delivered the majority opinion.[10]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. This is a violation of the Sixth Amendment, "to have the assistance of counsel for his defence."[3] A suspect has the right to an attorney at almost every phase of the criminal process from arrest through the first appeal.[4] One of an attorney's functions is to make sure the defendant's constitutional rights are not violated by the conduct of law enforcement personnel.[4]
  2. By hiding the paper claimed to be a warrant under her clothing (which if it were a warrant would not be evidence), the police violated the suspect's Fourth Amendment right that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.[5] If police have a reasonable suspicion a suspect may have a weapon, they may "pat down" the person's outer clothing.[5] Also, police do not need a warrant if the evidence is in plain view.[5] In this case it was not and a warrant would be needed to recover the paper.
  3. The First Amendment generally protects an adult's right to pornogrpahy under "free speech" if it is not deemed obscene or is not child pornography.[8] However, there is no firm standard for what is obscenity. In Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964), Justice Potter Stewart made the famous remark “I know it when I see it.”[8] He also said the court was trying to define what may be indefinable.[8]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Mapp v. Ohio". Legal Information Institute/Cornell University School of Law. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "U.S. Supreme Court: Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961)". Justia. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  3. "Bill of Rights". The National Archives. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "The Right to Counsel". FindLaw. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Searches and Seizures: The Limitations of the Police". FindLaw. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "MAPP V. OHIO (1961)". Bill of Rights Institute. Archived from the original on 26 January 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  7. "MAPP v. OHIO, (1961)". FindLaw. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 David L. Hudson Jr. (13 September 2002). "Pornography & obscenity". The First Amendment Center. Archived from the original on 10 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  9. "Mapp v. Ohio Podcast". United States Courts. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  10. "Mapp v. Ohio" (PDF). C-SPAN. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

Other websites[change | change source]