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The Papers of Justice Tom C. Clark

DesegregationSchool PrayerFourth AmendmentFifth AmendmentVoting RightsCommunismMexican American Civil Rights

Mapp v. Ohio (1961)

4th Amendment - Mapp v. Ohio, 1961

Dollree Mapp mug shot

Dollree Mapp Mug Shot. AP/Wide World Photos

Selected Case Files

Docket Sheet

Bench Memorandum

First draft of Justice Clark's opinion

Marked up draft of Justice Clark's opinion

Draft of Justice Douglas' concurring opinion

Draft of Justice Harlan's dissenting opinion

Congratulatory note from Justice Douglas to Justice Clark

Congratulatory note from Justice Brennan to Justice Clark

Letter from Justice Harlan to Justice Clark expressing concern with opinion

Justice Clark's response to Justice Harlan

Note from Justice Clark to Court regarding debate over opinion

Memorandum explaining law of search warrants at time of decision


The Mapp decision is a landmark case in the development of search and seizure law. Dollree Mapp lived in Cleveland, Ohio, where police forcibly entered her house without a search warrant and found obscene items. After being prosecuted and convicted, Mapp appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court. While the Court had long held that the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures" by law enforcement officers, it had limited the application of this constitutional protection to the actions of federal officers. In Mapp, the Court expanded the reach of the Fourth Amendment to the actions of state law enforcement officers. Evidence illegally obtained could be excluded from trial. After Mapp, the use of search warrants increased dramatically in all states.

 

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