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Mapp V. Ohio Essay, Research Paper
Mapp vs. Ohio
The Mapp Vs Ohio Supreme Court Case was a turning point in our nation’s history. It changed our legal system by forming the exclusionary rule, which in turn changed the way prosecution of a criminal is performed. On May 23, 1957, three Cleveland police officers arrived at Dolly Mapp?s home. They had reason to believe that paraphernalia and a fugitive of a recent bombing had been hiding out there. The officers asked if they could search the home without a search warrant, with the advice of her attorney she refused. Three hours later, four more police officers arrived to the scene. They knocked on the door but Ms. Mapp did not respond immediately. The officers then forcibly entered the home by knocking down the door and windows. Ms. Mapp demanded to see a warrant; but an officer showed her a blank piece of paper that he claimed to be a warrant. An aggravated with the situation, Ms. Mapp took the warrant and wiped her bosom with it. The officers arrested her an account she was ?belligerent? and ?rude?. While Ms. Mapp was in handcuffs, the police conducted an extremely though search of the house by breaking things and search through private drawers and desk. They found no evidence of a fugitive and of anything bomb related, however they did find some lewd, and lavacious reading materials that were illegal in Ohio. Ms. Mapp was ultimately convicted in the Supreme Court of Ohio on account of her possession of the pornography. The search was illegal according to a previous ruling in Wolf vs. Colorado; but Ms. Mapp appealed claiming it violated due process of law. In a 5-3 vote, Wolf vs. Colorado was overturned and the exclusionary rule of law was developed and determined to be applicable in all courts. In the process, it has greatly effected our legal system, and the way it is run. The justice had very important decision to make; to either protect the rights of the accused or convict criminals at all cost. The court concluded that protecting innocent people?s rights is far more important than convicting criminals.
In 1949, the Court ruled in Wolf vs. Colorado, claming that the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment did not incorporate the 9th and 10th amendments. Suggesting that the due process did not protect non-specified rights or was due process permanently defined within the states. Therefore, according to this case, the state of Ohio was completely justified in convicting Ms. Mapp for her possession of pornography. Since privacy and security is not one of our basic, listed rights, due process does not have to apply to protecting these rights. And certainly since due process in not laid out in black and white, Ohio could rule and construct due process in any way they saw fit. The Supreme Court of Ohio did convict Ms. Mapp on her possession of pornography. However, she appealed to the United States Supreme Court in 1961, and the Court saw it necessary to review this issue and see what Wolf needed to be overruled.
After reviewing the case, the Court ruled in favor of Ms. Mapp and the exclusionary rule was developed. This rule said that illegally seized evidence could not be used to convict a person in a court of law. The Court came about this reason for two key reasons: it did not coincide with the fourth and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution. Justice Clack made these ideas clear in his opinion when he said ?The ignoble shortcut to conviction left open to the state tends to destroy the entire system of constitutional restraints on which the liberties of the people rest. Having once recognized that the right to privacy embodied in the Fourth amendment is enforceable against the States, and that the right to be secured against rude invasions of privacy by state officers, therefore, constitutional in origin, we can no longer permit that right to remain an empty promise. Because it is enforceable in the same manner and to like effects as other basic rights secured by the Due Process Clause, we can no longer permit it to be revocable at the whim of any police officer who, in the name of law enforcement itself, chooses to suspend its enjoyment. Our decision, founded on reason and truth, gives to the individual no more than that to which the Constitution guarantees him, to the police officer no less than that to which honest law enforcement is entitled, and to the courts, that judicial integrity so necessary in the true administration of justice.? That was the overall opinion of the court and the reason in which the exclusionary rule was formed and guaranteed to the states and local governments, instead of just Federal Courts.
This decision has greatly affected our legal system as well. The exclusionary rule was basically formed by giving up on one priority over the other. The question is, weather or not it is more important to protect the innocent from rude invasions, or to capture and convict criminals. The Court decided it is far more important to protect the innocent. The judges felt this would be the best way to protect people from being deprived of their rights by the police and government. As a result many situations have arose where a criminal has been set free because of the exclusionary rule. Which has been a major result for controversy.
When Justice Harlan gave his dissenting opinion, he was fully aware of the situation that could be arising from this decision. He knew that criminals would be free because of this and totally disagreed with it. He said ?In this instance, for here we are reviewing not a determination that what the state police did was constitutionally permissible (since the state court quite evidently assumed that it was not), but a determination that appellant was properly found guilty of conduct which, for present purpose, it is to be assumed the State could constitutionally punish.? He was referring to how he felt that it should not matter how someone gains the evidence to prosecute a criminal; the only thing that should matter is weather the person did it or not. If one commits a crime, they ultimately should be punished, there should be no loot-poles around it.
I tend to agree with the dissenting opinion on this issue. I do not see it fair for people to get off because of laws within the system. If a person commits a crime, they should be convicted for it, regardless of how the evidence is found. If you make mistakes, you have to pay the consequences. Furthermore, I think that our rights can be flexible enough to help convict criminals. Our rights have been abridged before; such as freedom of expression being limited in time of war, and our right to bear arms is being significantly abridged with each New Year. Therefore, we can be flexible to a point in our legal system to help police matters. But that is the thing, to point. If Mapp were overturned, then it would take the full cooperation of the police force. What the police did in this case was completely out of line. Being locked up as a prisoner, while strangers search your home is totally unjustified. We would have to make sure that it would never happen again.
That is how many Americans, I think feel on this issue. They tend to agree with Justice Steward and me. Feeling the need to capture the criminals, but not to go as far as giving up our freedoms. He said, ?I express no view as to the merits of the constitutional issue which the Court today decides. I would, however, reverse the judgement in this particular case, because I am persuaded that the provision of the Ohio Revised Code, upon which the petitioner?s conviction was based, is, in the words of Justice Harlan, not ?consistent with the rights of privacy and security assured against state action by the Fourteenth Amendment.? Him and the rest of our society fell the need to convict criminals, but at the same time do not want their rights violated as they were in this case. Maybe we should not determine how one is convicted, but better yet, make proper adjustments in how the police can search the home. A warrant does not always cut it, people can get rid of the evidence before the warrant can be issued. There has to be an adjustment made so that the police can search without a warrant, but at the same time, not to totally abolish ones rights. It is a very controversial issue, with a not so clear solution.
Since 1961, the controversial case of Mapp vs. Ohio the Exclusionary has been in tact. I do not think it will be a major issue in the upcoming election because Americans have grown accustomed to it within the past 39 years. However, when the Court reviews the case they will probably head in the direction of police restraint rather than the exclusionary rule. The rule may give too many rights too our people. One could basically run a muck, and commit a numerous amount of crimes; but get rid of all the evidence and then be free. There should be a way to put these criminals in line. Much of Americans feel the same as I do and this is what we want to see happen, and I think Mapp will be overturned and a new system will develop.
1. ?Exclusionary Rule Annotations.? 1999.
2. ?Opinions of Mapp v. Ohio.? 1998.
3. ?Regents Case summaries.? 1999
4. ?Landmark Supreme Court Rulings? 1999
5. ? Mapp v. Ohio?. World book Encyclopedia, 1995, volume 13, pp.78-79
6. Smith, Duane E. We the people, The Citizens and the Constitution,
Calabasas: Center for Civic Education, 1995
7. Ratcliffe, Robert H. Vital Issues of the Constitution,
Boston: Houghton Mifflin company, 1975
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