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 thousand dollars or imprisoned not less than one nor more than seven years, or both." ), and took her into custody. Miss Mapp was indicted on
the charge, and went to trial. During her trial, no search warrant was ever produced. The judge stated that there was considerable doubt as to whether there ever
was a warrant in the first place. Even so, the evidence collected illegally was presented during the case. As reasoning, the case of Wolf vs. Colorado was cited,
which stated that when the accused is being tried in a state court, he or she does not have the protection of the exclusionary...