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Mapp v. Ohio

Supreme Court of the United States

March 29, 1961, Argued ; June 19, 1961, Decided

No. 236

Case Summary

Procedural Posture

Defendant appealed from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Ohio, which affirmed her conviction for possessing obscene literature in violation of Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2905.34. Defendant contended that the evidence seized during a search and that was introduced at the trial was prohibited under U.S. Const. amend. IV.


It was apparent that the materials introduced into evidence in the prosecution of defendant were seized during an illegal search of defendant's residence in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Nevertheless, the state supreme court affirmed defendant's conviction for possessing lewd material in violation of Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2905.34 on the basis that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply in the state court prosecution of defendant for a state crime to forbid the admission of evidence obtained by an unreasonable search and seizure. On appeal, the Court reversed the state supreme court's decision. The Court held that the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment extended to the States the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. And, as necessary to ensure such rights, the exclusionary rule, which prohibited the introduction into evidence of material seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment, likewise applied to the State's prosecution of state crimes.


The Court reversed the judgment of the state supreme court and remanded the cause for further proceedings not inconsistent with the Court's opinion.

LexisNexis® Headnotes




Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Procedural Due Process > Scope of Protection

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

HN1  Procedural Due Process, Scope of Protection

The doctrines of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors and the rummaging of his drawers that constitutes the essence of the offense; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty, and private property. Breaking into a house and opening boxes and drawers are circumstances of aggravation; but any forcible and compulsory extortion of a man's own testimony or of his private papers to be used as evidence to convict him of crime or to forfeit his goods is within the condemnation of the amendments.


Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

HN2  Search & Seizure, Scope of Protection

Constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. It is the duty of courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen, and against any stealthy encroachments thereon.

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Probable Cause

Criminal Law & Procedure > ... > Search Warrants > Probable Cause > General Overview

Constitutional Law > ... > Fundamental Rights > Search & Seizure > Scope of Protection

Criminal Law & Procedure > Search & Seizure > Search Warrants > General Overview

Criminal Law & Procedure > ... > Search Warrants > Affirmations & Oaths > General Overview

HN3  Search & Seizure, Probable Cause

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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367 U.S. 643 ; 81 S. Ct. 1684 ; 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081 ; 1961 U.S. LEXIS 812 ; 84 A.L.R.2d 933; 86 Ohio L. Abs. 513; 16 Ohio Op. 2d 384



Disposition:  170 Ohio St. 427, 166 N. E. 2d 387, reversed.