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#TBT: Mapp v. Ohio

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Have you ever heard the phrase that the "evidence is inadmissible in court" on a TV show featuring lawyers in court? Due to our Fourth Amendment rights, evidence that was unlawfully obtained, meaning found without a search warrant, is not sufficient in court. The Fourth Amendment rights protects citizens from the authority taking advantage of our vulnerability. Any government official must obtain a search warrant because otherwise would be a violation of our right to privacy.

Miss Mapp and her daughter were disturbed by three police officers one night in 1961. The officers claimed that they had a lead on a bombing suspect, which Mapp was allegedly linked to. The officers knocked on her door and asked to come in, but Mapp refused to open her door after she had called her lawyer.

Hours later, police officers returned to her doorstep with more officers, again, they requested permission to enter her home, but she refused again, quickly after, the officers broke into her home. Mapp’s attorney then arrived at the scene but was not allowed to see Mapp. Mapp demanded to see a search warrant, so an officer waved a piece of paper in front of Mapp and claimed it was their search warrant. Mapp took the paper and stuffed it in her bosom. The officer then forcibly twisted Mapp’s arm so that he could arrest her because she was being belligerent. With a handcuffed Mapp, the officers proceeded to check her bedroom, her daughter’s room, the kitchen, and the basement.

According to the officers, they found some “obscene materials” in the trunk in her basement, and were able to make an arrest and she was convicted.

Mapp filed for a complaint to the Ohio Supreme Court, in which Justice Tom Clark and other judges heard her case. Clark announced that the Court majority is in favor with Mapp due to the fact that the evidence was illegally obtained and it violated her right to privacy and the Fourth Amendment, in which a warrant is needed for a search and seizure. Justice Tom Clark also added and stressed the fact that the government must not break the law, especially not obtaining a search warrant before a search, because they would be found in contempt of law.

 

 

 

Sources:

"Mapp v. Ohio." LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University of Law, n.d. Web. 08 July 2014.

Joseph M. Ghabour
Auto, Bus, Pedestrian, Motorcycle accident, medical malpractice and worker's compensation attorney.
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