Mapp vs. Ohio: Illegal Search and Seizure

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Mapp vs. Ohio: Illegal Search and Seizure

The case of Mapp vs. Ohio is one of the most important Supreme Court decisions of the last century. Until this decision, the rights against illegal search and

seizure had no method to be enforced. Up until this time, previous cases at set precedents provided little or no protection from illegal searches and seizures for the

accused facing state prosecution. On May 23, 1957, Miss Dollree Mapp heard a knocking at her door (170 Ohio Street). When she asked who it was, three men

identified themselves as Cleveland police officers.

The officers stated that they believed a fugitive was hiding in her home. Miss Mapp told the officers that there was no one else in her home. They

asked her for entrance. Miss Mapp phoned her attorney, and was instructed not to let the police into her home. The police grudgingly left, and set up surveillance

around the home. Around three hours later, the police officers returned to Miss Mapp's residence, and was met by four additional officers as well. The officers gave

Miss Mapp little time to respond to their presence, and almost immediately forced entry through several of the entrances to Miss Mapp’s home. Miss Mapp's

attorney arrived on the scene to provide council, but was met by the police instead. The police held him outside, preventing him from meeting with his client. When

Miss Mapp was confronted by the officers, she demanded to see the search warrant. An officer held up a piece of paper, which is believed to be a fake warrant.

Miss Mapp grabbed the paper, and put it down her blouse. The police then forcibly tried to retrieve the "warrant" from Miss Mapp's blouse. They handcuffed her

for being "belligerent". The police then proceeded to search every room in the entire house. In the basement, they found a trunk, which they opened. Inside they

found materials that they considered to be “obscene”. They retrieved all the materials, and charged her with the possession of obscene material (Ohio Rev. Code,

2905.34: "No person shall knowingly . . . have in his possession or under his control an obscene, lewd, or lascivious book, magazine, pamphlet, paper, writing,

advertisement, circular, print, picture . . . or drawing . . . of an indecent or immoral nature . . . . Whoever violates this section shall be fined not less than two hundred

nor more than two tho...

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...ow meant that citizens had

different rights depending on what state they lived in. This allowed another way for prosecutors to abuse the system. They could attempt to get cases to be heard in

states which did not have an exclusionary rule adopted. By applying the federal exclusionary rule to all the states, all citizens would be equally protected. While a

controversial decision at the time, the creation of the exclusionary rule is now one of the backbones of the accused rights in American society.

As a review, Mapp's rights were clearly violated by the Police department and by the State of Ohio. Had it not been for the Supreme Court to enforce her

constitutional rights, her conviction would have gone unjust. Theres many arguments between the prosecutors, police, and defense about the Mapps case. Views

such as "how is the police department supposed to stop crime if they cant search it out and find it with the disability the fourth amendment brings to them". How can

defense attourneys defend subjects/victims if they have no privacy due to the lack of support on the fourth amendment. The Mapps case is a perfect example of how

the Supreme Court impacts our society.

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