What are the facts in the "Mapp v. Ohio" case?

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The facts of the Mapp v. Ohio case are relatively straightforward. On May 23, 1957, police officers in Cleveland, Ohio, went to the home of Dollree Mapp claiming that they were searching for bomb-making material. Mapp refused to let them enter without a warrant. The officers returned later with a...

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The facts of the Mapp v. Ohio case are relatively straightforward. On May 23, 1957, police officers in Cleveland, Ohio, went to the home of Dollree Mapp claiming that they were searching for bomb-making material. Mapp refused to let them enter without a warrant. The officers returned later with a piece of paper that they claimed to be a search warrant. It was never proven if they indeed had a legitimate warrant or not.

At any rate, the police officers forced their way into Mapp's home and found a number of pornographic books. Mapp was arrested, charged, and then cleared of the misdemeanor crime of possessing pornographic material. However, a few months later, Mapp was charged again with possession of pornography after she refused to testify against one of her associates in an illegal gambling racket. She was found guilty and sentenced to one to seven years in prison.

Mapp then appealed her conviction to the United States Supreme Court. She claimed that the police had violated her Fourth Amendment rights, as they did not have a proper warrant to search her home. Mapp and her lawyers argued that the Fourth Amendment should be applied at the state and local level (in addition to the federal level). The Court sided with Mapp in a 6–3 decision, and the case has been used as precedent ever since to require states to uphold the rights guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment.

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Mapp v. Ohio is considered a landmark case involving Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable or warrantless searches and seizures.  The Supreme Court decided in favor of the petitioner, Dollree Map, and against the State of Ohio in its 1961 ruling.

The case began with the 1957 arrest, prosecution and conviction of a Cleveland, Ohio, female for possession of pornographic material inside her home.  As the case developed, it turned out that the police officers involved had entered her home on the pretext of searching for bomb-making equipment.  Mapp had initially declined the police officers' request to search her home, but, after some of the officers left and later returned with a piece of paper they claimed was a valid search warrant, yet which they refused to show her, Mapp grabbed the paper and stuffed it down her shirt.  The officers forcibly restrained her and took the paper back.  The officers proceeded to conduct the search, wherein the pornographic material was discovered and seized, and Mapp arrested.

Mapp v. Ohio, as indicated, would make its way to the United States Supreme Court, which decided in Mapp's favor and overturned her conviction.  The Court determined that Mapp had been a victim of an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of her constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment, which reads:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probably cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."[Emphasis added]

In addition to the ruling that Mapp's Fourteenth Amendment rights had been violated, the Court's decision reaffirmed the preeminence of federal law over state law, meaning that the no law passed by a city or state can take precedence over one passed at the federal level of government.  

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