Mapp v. Ohio | Study Guide

United States Supreme Court

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United States Supreme Court

Year Decided



Primary Source



At a Glance

  • When police searched the home of Ohio resident Dollree Mapp (1923–2014) without a warrant, they found evidence to convict her of possessing "obscene material."
  • After her conviction, Mapp appealed her case to the Ohio Supreme Court, arguing that she was convicted based on evidence that police had obtained illegally.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court upheld legal precedent establishing that, although federal courts couldn't use illegally obtained evidence in a criminal trial, state courts could. Having lost her appeal at the state level in 1960, Mapp appealed her case to the Supreme Court in 1961.
  • In a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court banned unlawfully seized evidence from state criminal trials and reversed Mapp's Ohio Supreme Court conviction.
  • Opponents felt that the decision hampered law enforcement's ability to convict criminals. Supporters praised the court's defense of individual privacy.
  • The case strengthened the rights of criminal defendants at all levels and addressed the ongoing issues of fair trials, police accountability, and true justice.


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