Mapp v. Ohio
Decided on June 19, 1961; 367 US 643


The Court implemented the "exclusionary rule" which states that "all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Federal Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court."

 

I. ISSUES II. CASE SUMMARY III. AMICI CURIAE IV. DECISION V. WIN OR LOSS?
I. ISSUES:

A. Issues Discussed: Search and seizure

B. Legal Question Presented:

Is evidence obtained during a warrantless search admissible at trial?

II. CASE SUMMARY:

A. Background:

Appellant Mapp was convicted of possession of "lewd and lascivious books, pictures, and photographs in violation of 2905.34 of Ohio's Revised Code." The material was seized after widespread search of her home following a forceful break-in by the police.

"At trial no search warrant was produced by the prosecution, nor was the failure to produce one explained or accounted for... The Ohio Supreme Court said that "even if the search were made without authority, or otherwise unreasonably, it is not prevented from using the unconstitutionally seized evidence at trial, citing Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25 (1949), in which [the US Supreme Court] did indeed hold 'that in a prosecution in a State court for a State crime the Fourteenth Amendment does not forbid the admission of evidence obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure.'"

On appeal the US Supreme Court overturned Wolf v. Colorado and reversed the judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court.

B. Counsel of Record:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable Unavailable
C. The Arguments:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Unavailable  Unavailable 
III. AMICI CURIAE:
ACLU Side
(Petitioner/Appellant)
Opposing Side
(Respondent/Appellee)
Brief of amici curiae urging reversal was filed by Bernard A. Berkman argued the cause for the American Civil Liberties Union et al. With him on the brief was Rowland Watts.

A. L. Kearns argued the cause for appellant. With him on the brief was Walter L. Greene.

Gertrude Bauer Mahon argued the cause for appellee. With her on the brief was John T. Corrigan.

IV. THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION:

"All evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Federal Constitution is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court. Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S.25, overruled insofar as it holds to the contrary."

The US Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justice Vote: 5 Pro vs. 4 Con
  • Clark, T. Pro (Wrote majority opinion)
  • Black, H. Pro (Wrote concurring opinion)
  • Douglas, W. Pro (Wrote concurring opinion)
  • Warren, E. Pro (Joined majority opinion)
  • Brennan, W. Pro (Joined majority opinion)
  • Harlan, J. Con (Wrote dissenting opinion)
  • Whittaker, C. Con (Joined dissenting opinion)
  • Frankfurter, F. Con (Joined dissenting opinion)
  • Steward, P. Con (Joined dissenting opinion)
V. A WIN OR LOSS FOR THE ACLU?

The ACLU, as amicus curiae, urged reversal of the state Supreme Court's Judgment; the Supreme Court reversed in a 5-4 vote, giving the ACLU an apparent win.