Mapp v. Ohio

Posted: August 7th, 2013











Mapp v Ohio




Mapp v Ohio

            Criminal justice is a branch of criminal law that deals with the defense of individuals who are suspected of being criminals of those affiliated with one. The main function of this aspect of law is to ensure that those who violate the laws are punishment. This is a case involving Ms. Dolree Mapp and the state of Ohio. The case was presided by the landmark Supreme Court. This case became a very significant precedent in the study of law, particularly criminal law.

In this case, Mapp was suspected of harboring a fugitive and gambling material in her house. The police sought her permission to search her house, but she declined since they did not have a search warrant. She asked them to come back with a search warrant in order to gain entry into her house. She turned them away on the advice of her lawyer. The police returned shortly, and when she did not answer the door immediately, they forced their way inside her house. The police did this knowing filly well that Mapp was in the house since she was under surveillance and she had not left. Mapp’s attorney arrived shortly afterwards but was not allowed to see or talk to her. Mapp asked the police for their search warrant, to which they showed her a piece of paper (Steiker, 2006).

She grabbed this paper and to her surprise, it was not a search warrant. She was later convicted of being in possession of obscene materials after police found some magazines in a trunk, in her basement. Mapp, however, appealed on the basis that the evidence was a result of an illegal search since the police did not have a search warrant. Her appeal argued that evidence obtained illegally should not be presented in court. This evidence should therefore, have been excluded during her trial. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted her appeal and consented to her argument. They stated that any illegally obtained evidence should not be presented in court (Long, 2006)

The facts involved in the case were quite straightforward. All the evidence acquired was illegally acquired from the house of Ms. Mapp. The police had acquired the evidence without a search warrant and by forcefully entering her residence. The petitioner (Mapp) stated some arguments in order to appeal her conviction. Her appeal was because the evidence presented in court against her was all illegally acquired from her house. She wanted such evidence to be disregarded (Zotti, 2005).

This ruling completely changed some aspects in criminal law. Prior to this case, this law (exclusionary rule) was only applicable to federal courts and states that accepted it. Mapp’s case, however, made this law binding to all states in order to deter the police from obtaining evidence illegally. Most criminal cases arose from the state level as opposed to the federal level as was stated in the prior law. This ruling affects future cases of this nature in that it provides a basis for the presiding judge to rule. This case also ensured that the police would not acquire any evidence illegally as it will not be presented in court (Padfield, 2006).

In my opinion, the Supreme Court ruled fairly in this case. This is because the police had no right to break into Mapp’s house especially without a search warrant. The court’s decision in this case was remarkable since it ensured that the police would not acquire and present any evidence if it was illegally obtained. In the case of the police, it also made sure that they would use their powers wisely.




Long, C. N. (2006). Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding against unreasonable searches and seizures. Lawrence, Kan: University Press of Kansas.

Padfield, N. (2006). Criminal law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Steiker, C. S. (2006). Criminal procedure stories. New York, NY: Foundation Press/Thomson/West.

Zotti, P. M. (2005). Injustice for all: Mapp vs. Ohio and the Fourth Amendment. New York: P. Lang.

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