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Mapp v. Ohio Fourth Amendment Case

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Mapp v. Ohio: Controversy of the Fourth Amendment

Ms. Dollree Mapp and her daughter lived in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving information that an individual wanted in connection with a recent bombing was hiding in Mapp's house, the Cleveland police knocked on her door and demanded entrance. Mapp called her attorney and subsequently refused to let the police in when they failed to produce a search warrant. After several hours of surveillance and the arrival of more officers, the police again sought entrance to the house. Although Mapp did not allow them to enter, they gained access by forcibly opening at least one door. Once the police were inside the house, Mapp confronted them and demanded to see their warrant. One of the officers held up a piece of paper claiming it was a search warrant. Mapp grabbed the paper but an officer recovered it and handcuffed Mapp ?because she had been belligerent.? Dragging Mapp upstairs, officers proceeded to search not only her room, but also her daughter?s bedroom, the kitchen, dinette, living room, and basement.
In the course of the basement search, police found a trunk containing ?lewd and lascivious? books and pictures. As a result, Mapp was arrested for violating an Ohio law prohibiting the possession of obscene materials. The Cuyahoga County Common Please Court found her guilty of the violation based on the evidence presented by the police. When Mapp?s attorney questioned the officers about the alleged warrant and asked for it to be produced, the police were unable or unwilling to do so. Nonetheless, Mapp was found guilty and sentenced to 1 to 7 years in the Ohio Women?s Reformatory.
Upon her conviction, Mapp appealed the case to the Court of Appeals, Eighth Judicial Circuit, but the cour...


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...level and not to the state level (once again undermining state government authority). For these reasons, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in this case was one of the most controversial decisions at that time. Up until this decision was made, police in many states had ignored the search and seizure law.
I believe this United States Supreme Court case is particularly important because it ultimately defends a person?s Constitutional right to privacy. As stated before, until this decision was made, the search and seizure laws were given little consideration. Although there is always an exception to the rule, for the most part, evidence that is obtained in a way that violates a person?s Constitutional right is inadmissible in Court. This decision has most definitely refined the laws of the admissibility of evidence and the procedures followed by those in law enforcement.

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