What was the issue in the Mapp v. Ohio case?
The issue in Mapp v. Ohio was whether the so-called "exclusionary rule," which held that evidence illegally collected by officers could not be used against defendants, was applicable to state criminal trials. (The "exclusionary rule" had been applicable to federal cases for decades.) The case before the court in Mapp involved a woman whose home was searched for evidence in a local bombing incident. When the police officers came to the woman's front door, she demanded that they produce a warrant. They refused, and forcibly entered the home, where they found not evidence associated with the bombing, but pornographic materials. The woman was prosecuted and convicted under Ohio obscenity laws, and she challenged her conviction based on her contention that the damning evidence had been illegally collected. The Court agreed, using the incorporation doctrine based on the Fourteenth Amendment to hold that the Fourth Amendment's restrictions on illegal searches and seizures, and the exclusionary rule that enforced them at the federal level, was also applicable to state cases.