The Fourth Amendment, Mapp v. Ohio (No. 236)

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The Fourth Amendment, Mapp v. Ohio (No. 236)

The Fourth Amendment, Mapp v. Ohio (No. 236)

On June 19, 1961, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the proof attained in the United States constitution fourth amendment violation, that disallows searches and seizures that are unreasonable, was irrelevant in the state courts. By doing so, the Supreme Court held the federal exclusionary rule which forbid the use of evidence in the federal courts that were obtained unconstitutionally. In addition, the federal rule was appropriate to the states. This was by using the incorporation doctrine. The doctrine contains the theory that most federal bill of rights protection are certain against the states by the fourteen amendment clause that forbids the states from denying liberty without following the law process (Stevens, 2011).

The ruling in the Mapp case was overturned by the Supreme Court. This is because the Supreme Court acknowledged the right to privacy. This case rose in 1957 when the Cleveland police forced there way in Dollree Mapp’s home and started to conduct a warrantless search. They broke into one of the doors when Mapp did not open for them immediately (United States Courts, 2012). They produced a paper they termed to be a warrant. According to the police, they were searching for a suspect accused of bombing. Even though they did not find the suspect, the police discovered allegedly lascivious pictures and books. The possession of these lascivious pictures and books are prohibited under the state law of Ohio.

During trial, the prosecution did not produce the warrant. Based on the evidence presented in court, Mapp was found guilty of breaking the law. When the Supreme Court in Ohio heard the appeal, it realized that the search conducted was unlawful (United States Courts, 2012). In addition, the Supreme Court sustained the sentence. In this case, the court settled for certiorari. This is a court order handed out by a Superior court for examining an action done by a lower court either in the district or state. In a ruling handed out on June 19 1961, Ohio’s Supreme Court reversed the decision made by the state court. In the first time, Justice Tom Clark, who handled the appeal, lay off arguments done by Mapp’s lawyers.

The attorneys in this case argued that the law instituted a freedom of speech infringement. They went further to say that the exclusionary law was not adhered to and Mapp’s privacy was infringed. Following the case of Weeks versus United States in 1914 that led to the establishment of the federal exclusionary law, Justice Tom contended that the fourth amendment firmly denotes that using evidence attained in the amendment violation is not constitutional. Lacking a restrictive effect that the rule provided, the fourth amendment was not to be used and implied. Due to this, Weeks said that the rule may be removed from the constitution (Cornell University Law School, 2012).

In conclusion, the Supreme Court found that the police protection by the forth amendment is incorporated. In case the right to privacy is put into effect, there must be a way that is effective to compel it. Justice Tom responded to the district judge by saying that Mapp was to be set free because the police constable had blundered. He went on to say that Mapp will go free if it is a must but it is not him that has set Mapp free, but the law has. This opinion by Justice Tom was later joined by Chief Justice William Brennan, Earl Warren and William Douglas (Stevens, 2011).


Cornell University Law School. (2012). Mapp v. Ohio (No. 236). Retrieved October 24, 2012, from

United States Courts. (2012). Mapp V. Ohio Podcast: Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Retrieved October 24, 2012, from

Stevens, D. (2011). An Introduction to American Policy. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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