Mapp Vs. Ohio

About The Case:

The case was presented on March 29th, 1961, and was decided on June 19, 1961. Mapp was accused of harboring a suspected bomb fugitive. The police came to search her house, but did not have a search warrant. She told them to leave unless they had a warrant. They busted into her house and waved a piece of paper in the air saying that it was their warrant. She stuffed it down her shirt so she could get a better look later, but they cuffed her and took it back. They found no fugitive, but a trunk full of “obscene materials” instead. She was then taken to court for possession of pornographic materials, which was against Ohio law.

Why Is This Case Important?

The trial violated the fourth amendment which protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. The amendment, however, does not clarify how to treat a search done without a warrant, leaving a big controversy among the Supreme Court. In spite of this case, the “Mapp Rule” was established. This rule forbids evidence gathered illegally to be admissible in court; this rule had not been applied to state courts before.

What Was The Ending Result In The Case?

Mapp won with the result of a 6 to 3 vote. Due to the complications of the search done without a warrant, the government came upon a decision on how to treat searches done without a warrant.


Important Terms:

Warrant- a piece of writing or document certifying or authorizing something, as a receipt, license, or commission.
· In this case, a warrant was the deciding factor of Mapp’s innocence.
Precedent- a legal decision or form of proceeding serving as an authoritative rule or pattern in future similar or analogous cases.
· In this case, the precedent concluded that Mapp was innocent.
Searches & Seizures- taking possession of an item, property, or person legally or by force.
· In this case, the Cleveland Police Department searched and seized Mapp’s home without a warrant, violating The Fourth Amendment.



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