Mapp v. Ohio

Why is the case important?

Mapp v. Ohio Brief The central themes of this case are searches and seizures, the right to privacy included in the Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule, and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Three Cleveland police officers arrived at the petitioner’s residence pursuant to information that a bombing suspect was hiding out there and that paraphernalia regarding the bombing was hidden there. The officers knocked and asked to enter, but the petitioner refused to admit them without a search warrant after speaking with her attorney. The officers left and returned approximately three hours later with what purported to be a search warrant. When the petitioner failed to answer the door, the officers forcibly entered the residence. The petitioner’s attorney arrived and was not permitted to see the petitioner or to enter the residence. The petitioner demanded to see the search warrant and when presented, she grabbed it and placed it in her shirt. Police struggled with the petitioner and eventually recovered the warrant. The petitioner was then placed under arrest for being belligerent and taken to her bedroom on the second floor of the residence. The officers then conducted a widespread search of the residence wherein obscene materials were found in a trunk in the basement. The petitioner was ultimately convicted of possessing these materials.

Key Players

1 Appellant: Mapp, whose home was improperly searched (apparently. without a warrant) and who was subsequently convicted in Ohio on the basis of possessing “lewd and lascivious” materials, which had been seized from her home during that search. Appellee: The state of Ohio and its police force who, without a warrant, searched Mapp’s home and seized illegal materials from it.


Were the confiscated materials protected from seizure by the Fourth Amendment?


In an opinion authored by Justice Tom C. Clark, the majority brushed aside First Amendment issues and declared that all evidence obtained by searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment is inadmissible in a state court. The decision launched the Court on a troubled course of determining how and when to apply the exclusionary rule. Justices Black and Douglas concurred. Justice Stewart concurred in the judgment but agreed fully with Part I of Justice Harlan’s dissent and expressed no view as to the merits of the constitutional issue. Justice Harlan, joined by Justices Frankfurter and Whittaker, wrote a dissenting opinion.

What was the effect of the supreme court case Mapp v. Ohio?


This case explicitly overrules Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25 (1949). The federal exclusionary rule now applies to the States through application of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. All illegally obtained evidence under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution must now be excluded. Mapp v. Ohio Summary The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mapp, whose home was searched without a warrant by The Cleveland police and whose property was seized during that search. The Court held that The “search and seizure” that took place was unconstitutional as a violation of The Fourth Amendment “right to privacy” and The Due Process Clause of The Fourteenth Amendment. The Court’s decision upheld application of The exclusionary rule, which excludes from admissibility as trial evidence any evidence that is gathered through a warrantless search and seizure process.

Mapp’s Residence
Dollree Mapp
Warren Court
367 US 643 (1961)
Mar 29, 1961
Jun 19, 1961