Mapp v. Ohio

PETITIONER: Dollree Mapp
LOCATION: Mapp's Residence

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1958-1962)

CITATION: 367 US 643 (1961)
ARGUED: Mar 29, 1961
DECIDED: Jun 19, 1961

Facts of the case

Dollree Mapp was convicted of possessing obscene materials after an admittedly illegal police search of her home for a fugitive. She appealed her conviction on the basis of freedom of expression.


Were the confiscated materials protected by the First Amendment? (May evidence obtained through a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment be admitted in a state criminal proceeding?)

Media for Mapp v. Ohio

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 29, 1961 in Mapp v. Ohio

Earl Warren:

Dollree Mapp, et cetera, appellant, versus Ohio.

Mr. Kearns.

A. L. Kearns:

Mr. Chief Justice, this Honorable Court, if the Court please.

We have a situation here arising in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

The defendant-appellant in this case was living in a residential neighborhood, owned her own home, and living there in a two-family house on the second floor, having rented the first floor to another tenant.

She lived there with a daughter approximately eleven years of age.

The evidence in this case disclosed that she is a woman without any record whatsoever from the criminal point of view -- a decent, respectable American citizen.

One day these police officers of the City of Cleveland, three in number, and the record sets forth the occurrence, came to the house and wanted to be admitted for the purpose of making a search.

When they rapped at the door or rang the bell, she looked out the window and asked them what they wanted.

And they said that they wanted to search the house.

Potter Stewart:

What time of the day was this, day or night?

A. L. Kearns:

In the daytime.

Potter Stewart:

On a weekday? On a weekday in the daytime?

A. L. Kearns:

Weekday, yes.

And she said that she would call her lawyer and see what he says.

Now, the evidence discloses that the police officers claimed that they were informed that there was some paraphernalia for the numbers game in the house, and they were also informed that a person wanted for questioning in a bombing was in the house.

She called her lawyer, Mr. Greene, who is my associate; and he said to her, if they have a search warrant, you permit them into the house.

So she told them that they'd have to have a search warrant.

One of the police officers then called his chief, a Lieutenant Cooney, and told him he couldn't get into the house because they required a search warrant and within a few minutes thereafter, several zone cars with many police officers surrounded the house.

Then, the evidence discloses, at least two of the police officers who knew -- one was Sergeant Delau -- knew what he was there for, but made no effort to procure a search warrant, neither one of them did, but they testified that a search warrant was procured by a Lieutenant White.

Now, they didn't know about it.

The evidence discloses that they were told that a search warrant had been procured.

When they came to the house with the search warrant and by the time or supposed search warrant, by the time they arrived, Mr. Greene was also there.

John M. Harlan II:

You say "supposed search warrant" (Inaudible)

A. L. Kearns:

There was no search warrant, Your Honor.

I intend to go to that from the evidence as we proceed.

This Lieutenant White came and showed a piece of paper, and Mrs. Mapp demanded to see the paper and to read it to see what it was, which they refused to do, so she grabbed it out of his hand to look at it and then a scuffle started, and she put this piece of paper into her bosom. And very readily the police officer put his hands into her bosom and removed the paper, and thereafter, thereafter handcuffed her while the police officers started to search the house.

Now, the evidence in the case discloses that the State claims there were only seven police officers, some in uniform.

Mr. Greene, who was there and was not permitted entrance to the house, but was kept outside, says there were approximately twelve police officers in all.

Now, the evidence discloses that no search warrant existed. Although they claimed that there was a search warrant, there is absolutely no evidence of any magistrate that had been asked for a search warrant. There was no record of a search warrant.