Mapp v. Ohio

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Mapp v. Ohio
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued March 29, 1961
Decided June 19, 1961
Full case name Dollree Mapp v. State of Ohio
Citations 367 U.S. 643 (more)
81 S. Ct. 1684; 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081; 1961 U.S. LEXIS 812; 86 Ohio L. Abs. 513; 16 Ohio Op. 2d 384; 84 A.L.R.2d 933
Prior history Defendant convicted, Cuyahoga County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas; affirmed, Ohio Court of Appeals; affirmed, 166 N.E.2d 387 (Ohio 1960)
Subsequent history Rehearing denied, 368 U.S. 871 (1961)
The Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, as applied to the states through the Fourteenth, excludes unconstitutionally obtained evidence from use in criminal prosecutions. Ohio Supreme Court reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Clark, joined by Warren, Black, Douglas, Brennan
Concurrence Black
Concurrence Douglas
Concurrence Stewart
Dissent Harlan, joined by Frankfurter, Whittaker
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amends. IV, XIV
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
Wolf v. Colorado

Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (1961), was a landmark case in criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures," may not be used in state law criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well, as had previously been the law, as in federal criminal law prosecutions in federal courts. The Supreme Court accomplished this by use of a principle known as selective incorporation; in Mapp this involved the incorporation of the provisions, as interpreted by the Court, of the Fourth Amendment which are applicable only to actions of the federal government into the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause which is applicable to actions of the states.

Background of the case[edit]

Ohio police were looking for a criminal accused of a bombing and had been tipped off that he was hiding in Dollree (pronounced doll ray) Mapp's house. Police came to her house, and when she didn't answer the door the police officers forced entry. In the house, she demanded to see the police's search warrant, but upon presentation, she asked for the document and placed it underneath her clothing. She was then handcuffed on the grounds of accused belligerence as police searched her house. The criminal wasn't in the house, but police found obscene materials which she was charged for, as possession of obscene materials was a criminal offense in Ohio at the time.

Circumstances of the case[edit]

Dollree (pronounced doll ray, also known as Dolly or Doll Rae) Mapp (1923/24-2014), the divorced ex-wife of boxer Jimmy Bivins and ex-girlfriend of light heavyweight champion Archie Moore, was an employee in the illegal gambling rackets dominated by Cleveland rackets kingpin Shon Birns. On May 23rd, 1957, police officers in Cleveland, Ohio, received an anonymous tip by phone that Virgil Ogletree, a numbers operator who was wanted for questioning in the bombing of rival numbers racketeer and future boxing promoter Don King's home three days earlier, might be found at Mapp's house, as well as illegal betting slips and equipment employed in the "California Gold" numbers operation set up by Mapp's boyfriend Edward Keeling.[1] Three officers went to the home and asked for permission to enter, but Mapp, after consulting her lawyer by telephone, refused to admit them without a search warrant. Two officers left, and one remained, watching the house from across the street.

Three hours later, four cars full of police arrived and knocked on the door but when she didn't answer, they stormed the house. Mapp asked to see the “warrant” and snatched it from an officer, putting it in her bra. The officers struggled with Mapp and eventually stripped her to skin and got the warrant back but the ink smeared off from her sweat. Then she flushed it down the toilet and the warrant was never seen again, and was not introduced as evidence in any of the ensuing court proceedings; when asked about it during oral argument at the Supreme Court, the Cleveland prosecutor arguing the case cautiously deflected the question, which the court did not press.

As the search of Mapp's second-floor, 2-bedroom apartment began, police handcuffed her for being “belligerent.” The police searched the house thoroughly, and discovered Ogletree, who was subsequently cleared on the bombing charge, hiding in the apartment of the downstairs tenant, Minerva Tate. In the search of Mapp's apartment and in a footlocker in the basement of the house police found a quantity of "California Gold" betting slips and paraphernalia.[2][3] They also found a variety of obscene pornographic materials which Mapp stated a previous tenant named Morris Jones had left behind.[4]

Mapp was arrested, charged, and cleared on a misdemeanor charge of possessing numbers paraphernalia; but several months later, after refusing to testify against Shon Birns, Edward Keeling and their associates at their trial that October for the attempted shakedown of Don King,[5] she was prosecuted for possession of the books, found guilty at a 1958 trial of "knowingly having had in her possession and under her control certain lewd and lascivious books, pictures, and photographs in violation of 2905.34 of Ohio's Revised Code", and sentenced to one to seven years in prison. She immediately filed an appeal while out on bail and never served a day of the sentence by the judge or the Ohio Supreme Court.[2][6]


The U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 in favor of Mapp. The Court overturned the conviction, and six justices found that the States were bound to exclude evidence seized in violation of the 4th Amendment.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zotti, Priscilla. Injustice for All (Peter Lang, 2005).
  2. ^ a b Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643 (U.S. 1961).
  3. ^ Duignan, Brian (2012-05-25). "Mapp v. Ohio". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Williams, Bob. "Dolly Mapp Sheds Glamour Gal Role", Cleveland Call and Post, Nov. 23, 1957, p. 1.
  6. ^ Woo, Elaine (December 13, 2014). "Dollree Mapp dies at 91; arrest led to landmark search warrant ruling". LA Times. 
  7. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • Long, Carolyn (2006). Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0-7006-1441-9. 
  • Stewart, Potter (1983). "The Road to Mapp v. Ohio and beyond: The Origins, Development and Future of the Exclusionary Rule in Search-and-Seizure Cases". Columbia Law Review 83 (6): 1365–1404. doi:10.2307/1122492. JSTOR 1122492. 
  • Zotti, Priscilla H. Machado (2005). Injustice for All: Mapp vs. Ohio and the Fourth Amendment. New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-7267-0. 

External links[edit]