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Mapp vs. Ohio

Mapp vs. Ohio

The Supreme Court of the USA clearly illustrates the history of the country. The court took out verdicts on key issues. Although it often canceled its own decisions, it developed the juridical system of America. There were many famous cases in the history of the USA that changed main laws and influenced the court system of the United States greatly. Modern judicial system differs greatly from the judicial system of the 20th century. Thus, this paper will examine one of the loudest and important cases in the history of the US court, the case that was called Mapp vs. Ohio, and its consequences.

Defining Mapp vs. Ohio

Mapp vs. Ohio (1961) refers to a landmark Supreme Court case, which emphasized that evidence gathered through illegal searches and seizures should not be used against the defendant in both state and federal courts (Carmen 41). This is especially because such evidence violates the Fourth Amendment that plays an instrumental role in the protection of individuals against illegal searches and seizures. Therefore, Mapp vs. Ohio is a case protecting the defendant against state and federal criminal trial in cases where evidence is gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

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What Was the Case and Talk About the Case

It is worth pointing out that the incident leading to this case occurred on May 23, 1957, in Cleveland, Ohio. Accordingly, it all began when three police officers came to Mapp’s house with the intention of conducting a search on it (Long 7). A woman opened the door, and policemen said that they had to search her house because they had the information about a criminal who was hiding in that house. Firstly, Dollree Mapp called her lawyer and he told her to ask for a search warrant, which was a document that granted the police the right to search the place. When she tried to find out whether they had a search warrant, she discovered that they had come with none. Thus, Dollree locked the door and did not let the policeman in. Then she phoned her lawyer again and asked him to come to her house and help. The police called for reinforcement, and then two more cars arrived to the house of Miss Mapp to break the door and conduct the search (United States 1998). When the lawyer arrived, the door had already been broken by the police and the officers did not let him to go in. They forced their way through and incapacitated her by handcuffing her hence finding an easier way to conduct their designated operations on the house. Although he said that what they had done was unlawful, the police ignored him. Actions of the police officers were wrong because in such cases, every person had the right to talk to his lawyer (United States 1998).. When the policemen searched two floors, they went to the basement where they found a suitcase. Having opened that suitcase, they came across numerous books, pictures, and photographs that bore obscene information and details that were automatically illegal in the views of the police. Thus, they arrested Dollree Mapp for possessing such material and brought her before they court where she was subsequently prosecuted and convicted for keeping these materials in her house (Carmen 57).

The incident resulted in numerous trials. However, she had tried to defend herself by arguing that the materials found in her basement did not belong to her, that the materials had been illegally seized, and that the police did not show any search warrant (Zotti 39). However, the court refused to listen to her arguments and she was subsequently found guilty of the alleged offense and was sent to prison for eight years. Nevertheless, her lawyer lodged an appeal, and 4 years later in 1961, the Supreme Court agreed to review this case (Zotti 41). Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court brought out two key ideas in the course of making things clear in this case. One of the relevant things that the Supreme Court held was that the police were not allowed to search the defendant’s house without a recognizable search warrant. This automatically meant that they had wrongly searched Mapp’s house because of the lack of a search warrant. Another point that the Supreme Court noted was that evidence collected in an illegal way was inadmissible in court and should not be used to prosecute the defendant. With these points, Mapp was acquitted for possessing these materials because they had been obtained in a manner that goes against the provisions of the Fourth Amendment (Long 52). This reversal set the ground for understanding the essence of this case and its role in protecting individuals against illegal searches and seizures by the police in the course of their activities or in their private apartments.

What Changes Did it Make?

This case lasted 4 years and after that, every state court stopped using illegal evidences in trials and lawsuits. Of course, it changed a lot in the judicial system of the USA. Nevertheless, there are still divided views on this decision as some people approve of its while others feel that it was unnecessary especially with the prevalence of crimes in the country (Carmen 71). Any themes that concern law and the judicial system are very complex, and there can be many different points of view. First, due to this law people can feel free and safe because no one can search them without a certain reason. Accordingly, the Supreme Court stood firm and reversed this case hence ensuring that individuals are protected in a more perfect manner. This means that it automatically changed the manner in which both state and federal courts perceive the evidence submitted in court and the rights and freedoms of the individual involved. They are not supposed to rush in their decision of using evidence against the defendant without weighing the manner in which it has been collected by the police involved in the search process (Persico 21). Thus, the police can only gather evidence by searching or seizing someone’s property in a manner that is legal and not in contravention of the provisions of the Supreme Court.

The Fourth Amendment plays an instrumental role in ensuring that individuals are not harassed by police officers through actions such as forceful entrance and searches into their private property. For instance, it excludes citizens from answering to cases where evidence has been collected in an illegal manner that entails forceful searches and seizures that are not backed up by search warrants (Gonzales 33).

It is important to mention that in first half of the 20th century, federal investigations were extremely rare and the Fourth US Amendment was rarely used. However, in 1961, the US Supreme Court confirmed the fact that the fourth amendment was mandatory for the state governments. In the case of Miss Mapp, her private property was taken as evidence and that was why she had spent 4 years of her life in a prison, which was fully wrong and unlawful (Persico 44).

What it Does

This case does a lot for ordinary citizens. Currently, it has made it more difficult for individuals to be subjected to unnecessary judicial processes in cases where it is discovered that the evidence was in fact collected in an illegal manner. This is a good sign especially because it ensures that innocent people do not get into prison for crimes they might not have committed (Zotti 62). Thus, the presence of the Fourth Amendment has played a critical role in the limitation of searches and arrests to ensure that the rights and freedoms of everyone are respected and that the police only do so by producing a search warrant.

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My Opinion and Conclusion

Therefore, in conclusion, I would like to summarize all these facts and form my own opinion. First, I have to say that the case Mapp vs. Ohio became a landmark case in the history of not only state Ohio but also the whole United States. We can see that in the first half of the 20th century was characterized by diverse cases involving forceful searches and seizures. This practice violated the human rights for freedom and privacy. It got worse in instances where a materials were attached to an individual as evidence emanating from searches and seizures. It was completely wrong and the judicial system had to change to become as it is now. Modern judicial system of the USA highly values the rights and freedoms of every US citizen. Therefore, in my opinion, the changes that were caused by the case Mapp vs. Ohio are completely correct. Any intrusion into the private property has to be done only due to very serious reasons and suspicions. People have to feel free from any encroachments on private property and freedom. It is very important, and the Fourth Amendment protects every US citizen from unlawful searches and arrests. Largely, it is the achievement of Dollree Mapp, because after her case and appeal to it, the Fourth Amendment came into effect.

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