Mapp v. Ohio


Institution Affiliation:

The case is about the arrest of a known drug dealer, Sally Martin,who was arrested after police invaded his house in search for drugs.Detective Mark Quickdraw was investigating the suspect by using aninformant, Sneaky Pete. On the day of arrest, Officer Quickdraw hadused his informant to keep track of the dealings by Martin. Afterbuying drugs with police money from the street, Officer Quickdrawcalled his partner and asked him to prepare a search warrant so thathe could go into Martin’s house and make arrests. However,discovering that the search warrant would take long, he calleduninformed backup and went on to raid Martin’s house without thenotice. Martin was charged with possessing a weapon and possession ofdrugs. However, her attorney filed a motion to suppress the evidence,citing violation of the Fourth Amendment right.

Issue:Whether the evidence that was recovered from the forceful search(firearm and drugs) conducted in desecration of the FourthAmendment of the US Constitution should be admissible in theState Court.

Rulesof law


In the United States Justice system, the exclusionary rule is a legalprinciple, which bars the State courts from using evidence that isobtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Maclin, 2012). Thegeneral aim of the rule is to protect citizens from illegal searchesand seizures, which may be done in the absence of a proper search ofwarrant from the state. In Martin’s case, Officer Quickdraw wentahead to call the backup hurriedly in an attempt to corner thesuspects. This means that he violated the Fourth Amendment per se, afact that the defendant’s lawyer used to suppress the evidencecollected. Martin is protected by the Fourth Amendment, whichguarantees the right to be free from searches and seizures. However,the Fourth Amendment does not specify any remedy whenever there is aconstitutional violation.

Maclin (2013) argued that the recent opinions over the exclusionaryrule may send the Fourth Amendment disputes back into the realms ofcivil suits, and police discipline in general. Given that the rulehas a role in creating controversy over hot court cases, the courtmight be reconsidering using scholars to draw upon its considerationsof Mapp. This is because many experts of the law have argued whetheror not Mapp has a legitimate constitutional home or whether it isjust abuse of judicial power. At the same time, there have beenattempts by scholars to battle over the methodology in which thecourt determines convictions. This has created wrangles in how thepolice can best be coerced into complying with the Fourth Amendment.

Fruitof the Poisonous Tree Doctrine

The Fruit of the Poisonous Tree Doctrine is an extension ofthe exclusionary rule. It was established in Silverthorne Lumber Co.v. United States, 251 U.S 385 (Slobogin, 2012). This doctrine holdsthat any evidence that is obtained from an unlawful sear, that is,search without warrant from the relevant authorities, must not beincluded in the trial. The name of the doctrine is therefore ametaphor itself. The “poisonous tree” is the evidence that isobtained during a warrant-less search or interrogation. The fruit isthe evidence that is discovered in advanced stages due to theknowledge gained from the initial unlawful search. Therefore,according to the principles of the Fourth Amendment, it isunreasonable for any officer of the law to conduct a search withoutprior warranting.

InMartin’s case, the police had obtained the evidence withoutconducting a lawful search, which would only be possible with if theyhad a search warrant. This is why the defense attorney filed a motionto suppress the evidence due to her client’s violation of theFourth Amendment. The gun and the drugs that were obtained werefruits of an illegal search in the defendant’s home. According toMaclin (2012), excluding such evidence from the trial, regardless ofthe weight it may bear on the case, is most appropriate legal actionto take. However, Maclin (2012) says that there are four exceptionsto the doctrine. First, the tainted evidence can be admissible if itwas discovered as part of an independent search. It would also beadmissible if the chain of causation between the unlawful search andthe evidence was attenuated, and if it would anyway have beendiscovered in advanced stages. Lastly, it would be admissible if thesearch was executed in good faith.


In the case of , the court voted 6-3 in favor of Mapp(Kutik &amp McCloud, 2011). After overturning the conviction, thejudges came to a conclusion that the States would have to exclude allevidence that was obtained in violation of the Constitution’sFourth Amendment. It is a fact that exclusion acts as deterrent toviolations of the constitution, because in many cases, theauthorities would not have an intent of carrying out such unlawfulsearches. Additionally, the Fourth Amendment does not provide apossible remedy for such incidences. As such, I would have voted tohave the evidence used in the case.


Kutik, L., &ampMcCloud, J. (2011). .

Maclin, T.(2013).&nbspTheSupreme Court and the Fourth Amendment`s exclusionary rule.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Slobogin, C.(2012). Exclusionary Rule: Is It on Its Way Out: Should it Be,The.OhioSt. J. Crim. L.,&nbsp10,341.