Wolf v. Colorado

PETITIONER: Julius A. Wolf
LOCATION: Denver District Court

DECIDED BY: Vinson Court (1946-1949)
LOWER COURT: Colorado Supreme Court

ARGUED: Oct 19, 1948
DECIDED: Jun 27, 1949

James S. Henderson - for the respondent
Philip Hornbein - for the petitioner

Facts of the case

Julius Wolf was accused of conspirator actions with the purpose to commit abortions.

The defendant argued that her rights proved under the Fourth Amendment`s Due Clause, especially when the search and seizures were unconstitutional. Thus, she claimed that all evidence was obtained by the police unlawfully and could not be used further in prosecution.

The Supreme Court of Colorado confirmed the plaintiff`s point of view and ordered certiorari to her.

However, there was the controversial issue that this evidence could be used in the court process accordingly to the Fourteen Amendment that allowed including of this kind of facts if it was the criminal case of the State crimes.

The case study upheld that the Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment didn`t prohibit the evidence found by way of unreasonable investigations. The rulings affirmed was that the Constitution didn`t impose some restrictions on criminal prosecutions in the states, that meant that these facts received illegally could not be excluded from the criminal processes.

The another judgment point that the removing of such testimonies can be considered as the method of avoiding contradictory searches, however, there were the same resulting ways that would adhere the Due Process Clause.

The case brief summarizes that this decision was overturned in Mapp v. Ohio in 1961 when the Court confirmed that evidence found infringing the Fourth Amendment, in other words in the result of illegible searching actions cannot be used in the criminal prosecutions in federal trials. It was deemed as the principle of selective incorporation.


Were the states required to exclude illegally seized evidence from trial under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments?