Free «The Fourth Amendment» Essay Sample

The case “Mapp v. Ohio, 367 US 643 (1961)” is the basis of this discussion in relation to the Fourth Amendment Clause. The case took place in 1957 when Cleveland police officers forced their way in Dollree Mapp’s home and started to conduct a warrantless search. United States Courts (2012) state that the police officers broke into the door after Mapp declined to admit them without a search warrant; they only produced a piece of paper in the name of the warrant. According to the police, they were searching for some unlawful betting equipment and a suspect accused of a bombing case. Even though the police officers did not find what they were searching, they discovered some pornographic stuff, possession of which was prohibited under the state law of Ohio. Mapp was detained and arraigned, found guilty, and punished for ownership of pornographic material.

The Fourth Amendment was directly applied to this case because, after the appeal, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling on 19th June, 1961, affirming that states cannot use "evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Federal Constitution because it is inadmissible in a criminal trial in a state court" (United States Courts, 2012). By doing so, the Supreme Court used the federal exclusionary rule, which forbids the use of evidence obtained unconstitutionally in the federal courts. In addition, the federal rule was appropriate to the states by using the incorporation doctrine. The police contravened the federal Bill of Rights that protect citizens against being ripped off their liberty without following the due process (Stevens, 2011).

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The ruling in the Mapp’s case was overturned by the Supreme Court, because it acknowledged the right to privacy. During the trial, the prosecution did not produce the warrant. Based on the evidence presented, the Supreme Court realized that the search conducted was unlawful (United States Courts, 2012). In this case, the court settled for certiorari, 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 on June 19, 1961, Ohio’s Supreme Court reversed the decision made by the state court. Initially, Justice Tom Clark, who handled the appeal, denied arguments made 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.

The case involved both governmental and private actions for the purpose of the Fourth Amendment. It was governmental because the police and the judges at the Ohio State Court were acting as government officials. On the other hand, the police conducted the search without a warrant, which is against the law.

Following the case of Weeks v. United States in 1914 that led to the establishment of the federal exclusionary law, Justice Tom Clark contended that the Fourth Amendment firmly denotes that using evidence attained in its violation is not constitutional. As a result, if the restrictive effect of the rule was not realized, the Fourth Amendment would not to be used and implied. Owing to this, Weeks said that the rule should be removed from the Constitution (Cornell University Law School, 2012).

In conclusion, the Supreme Court found that actions of the police officers infringed the provisions of the Fourth Amendment. The right to privacy must prevail, or proper procedure should be used to deny a suspect this freedom. Justice Tom Clark of the Supreme Court ruled that Mapp should be set free because the police constables had blundered to search her house without a warrant. Other judges who shared this opinion were Chief Justice William Brennan, Earl Warren and William Douglas (Stevens, 2011).


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