Exclusionary Rule Has Become a Research Paper

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The Court cited language from Boyd in support of its proposition. The Boyd Court had held that the Fourth and Fifth Amendments "apply to all invasions on the part of the government and its employees of the sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life. It is not the breaking of his doors, and the rummaging of his drawers, that constitutes the essence of the offence; but it is the invasion of his indefeasible right of personal security, personal liberty and private property" (116 U.S. 616, 530). In other words, it is not the physical act of violating someone's home that forms the root of the violation of privacy; it is more the intangible fact that, having done so, the police have taken away the idea of security and privacy for that individual.

The Court also mentioned Weeks. In Weeks, the Court held that:

If letters and private documents can thus be seized and held and used in evidence against a citizen accused of an offense, the protection of the Fourth Amendment declaring his right to be secure against such searches and seizures is of no value, and, so far as those thus placed are concerned, might as well be stricken from the Constitution. The efforts of the courts and their officials to bring the guilty to punishment, praiseworthy as they are, are not to be aided by the sacrifice of those great principles established by years of endeavor and suffering which have resulted in their embodiment in the fundamental law of the land" (232 U.S. 383, 393).

This was where the Court began to show a relationship between the Fourth and Fifth Amendments and how the Fourth Amendment's guarantee that people will be free from unreasonable searches and seizures combines with the Fifth Amendment's guarantee that a person will not be compelled to incriminate himself.

Therefore, while the Fifth Amendment is not an explicit part of the Court's reasoning, it is critical to know the text of the Fifth Amendment in order to understand how the Court used that background to help come to its conclusion. The Fifth Amendment provides:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation (U.S. Const. amend. V).

The Court also discussed later cases that had reaffirmed the decisions in Boyd and Weeks. In Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), that Court restated the Weeks rule as follows: "The striking outcome of the Weeks case and those which followed it was the sweeping declaration that the Fourth Amendment, although not referring to or limiting the use of evidence in courts, really forbade its introduction if obtained by government officers through a violation of the Amendment" (277 U.S. 438, 462). The Court built a strong argument in favor of the Exclusionary Rule, before turning to apply it to the states.

The Court also made an effort to build upon the decision in Wolf. Wolf involved the Court's first discussion of the interplay between the Fourth Amendment and the States. The Wolf court had "no hesitation in saying that were a State affirmatively to sanction such police incursion into privacy it would run counter to the guaranty of the Fourteenth Amendment" (338 U.S. 25, 28). However, because the Wolf court did not see any evidence that the state was sanctioning that type of behavior, it failed to consider whether the Exclusionary Rule should be applied as a result of individual action on behalf of the state. However, the Court did not find Wolf to be controlling. Instead, the Court determined that, "It, therefore, plainly appears that the factual considerations supporting the failure of the Wolf Court to include the Weeks exclusionary rule when it recognized the enforceability of the right to privacy against the States in 1949, while not basically relevant to the constitutional consideration, could not, in any analysis, now be deemed controlling" (367 U.S. 643, 654).

The Court did not feel like the states had taken the opportunity to implement the Exclusionary Rule in their own state Court systems. This was an important consideration, because the Court had refused to require the states to observe the exclusionary rule every time the issue had been before the Court. In fact, five years before Mapp, in Irvine v. California, 347 U.S. 128 (1954) the Court had stated that the Exclusionary Rule should not be forced upon the states until the states had "adequate opportunity to adopt or reject the [Weeks] rule" (347 U.S. 128, 134). However, states did not take the opportunity to adopt the Weeks' rule. The Mapp Court believed that, "Since the Fourth Amendment's right of privacy has been declared enforceable against the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth, it is enforceable against them by the same sanction of exclusion as is used against the Federal Government" (367 U.S. 643, 655).


The Court did not even consider the First Amendment issue. It was unnecessary for the Court to consider that issue unless Mapp's conviction was otherwise valid, and the Court determined that it was not. Following the Court's policy of not answering unnecessary questions, the Court did not even address the obscenity issue. Therefore, Mapp is known as a Fourth Amendment case, not a First Amendment case, and offers no guidance on the constitutionality of anti-obscenity legislation.

To look at whether Mapp's conviction was valid, the first thing the Court had to do was engage in an analysis of whether the evidence was obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This analysis focused on the issue of whether or not the police had a valid warrant when they forcibly entered Mapp's home. There simply was not credible evidence that the police had a warrant when they searched Mapp's home. The police did not present the piece of paper they claimed was the warrant to Mapp. Moreover, thought Mapp took the warrant from the police, they were able to recover it. However, even at the initial criminal trial, the police were unable to produce the warrants. There was also no other evidence that support that a warrant had ever been issued. The Court had to conclude that there was no warrant. If there was no warrant, then the intrusion into Mapp's home was unconstitutional. Moreover, the circumstances of Mapp's vehement refusal that they search her home and the fact that the handcuffed her in order to effectuate the search only served to exacerbate the egregious nature of the police intrusion into her privacy.

Once the Court was satisfied that the search on Mapp's home did, indeed, violate her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, it then had to turn its consideration to the appropriate remedy for such a violation. The majority determined that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to recognize a defendant's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. They determined that, because the Fourth Amendment's right to privacy was enforceable against the states because of the Due Process Clause, then violations of those rights had to be subject to the same remedy. Therefore, the Court held that the Exclusionary Rule applied to state criminal proceedings.

To reach that decision, the Court looked at the requirements of actually enforcing the provisions of the Bill of Rights. Comparing the Right to Privacy to other rights found in the Bill of Rights, the Court rejected the notion that the Right to Privacy should be differentiated from other rights. At that time, state violation of a person's other rights under the Bill of Rights was treated in the same manner as a federal violation of those rights. Therefore, people really did receive the protections of those rights. The Court rejected the idea that the Right to Privacy was somehow different from those other rights, in a way that would require it to have fewer protections than other rights. The Court stated, "Indeed, we are aware of no restraint, similar to that rejected today, conditioning the enforcement of any other basic constitutional right. The right to privacy, no less important than any other right carefully and particularly reserved to the people, would stand in marked contrast to all other rights declared as 'basic to a free society'" (367 U.S. 643, 656). It went on to further explain that, "This Court has not hesitated to enforce as strictly against the States as it does…

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