Police Abuse

Dollree Mapp, Plaintiff in Groundbreaking 4th Amendment Ruling Against Police Misconduct, RIP

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In 1961 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a watershed decision holding local police officers and prosecutors accountable under the Fourth Amendment. Writing for the majority in Mapp v. Ohio, Justice Tom Clark ruled that "the fruits of an unconstitutional search" are inadmissible as evidence in both state and federal court. Up until that point, the Supreme Court had only voted to exclude illegally obtained evidence from federal proceedings. Mapp was therefore a critical step in the development of America's modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.

The plaintiff in the case was an Ohio woman named Dollree Mapp, also known as Dolly. The police came to her residence after allegedly receiving a tip about a bombing suspect. The officers later claimed they had a warrant, but neither the police nor the prosecution was ever able to produce any evidence that such a warrant had ever existed. Nonetheless, the police muscled their way inside Mapp's home after she denied them entry and discovered some purportedly obscene books and photographs. Mapp was then arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned for possession of those obscene materials. Her victory at the Supreme Court erased that conviction and secured greater legal protections for all Americans in their dealings with law enforcement.

As The New York Times is now reporting, Dollree Mapp died in late October. Here is a portion of the Times' obituary for the late civil liberties pioneer:

On May 23, 1957, three police officers arrived at a house in Cleveland and demanded to enter. They wanted to question a man about a recent bombing and believed he was hiding inside. A woman who lived there, Dollree Mapp, refused to admit them.

It was a small gesture of defiance that led to a landmark United States Supreme Court ruling on the limits of police power….

Even though Ms. Mapp's name is etched in legal history, she had lived quietly in recent years, and besides a brief notice on a funeral home website, it took more than a month for her death to be reported. She was believed to be 90 or 91 when she died on Oct. 31, in or near Conyers, Ga.

Colorful, sometimes brash, Ms. Mapp was married for a time to Jimmy Bivins, a top-ranked fighter who died in 2012. She was later engaged to Archie Moore, a light-heavyweight champion, whom she sued in 1956 for $750,000, claiming he had assaulted her and had backed out of their marriage plans. (He died in 1998.) The bombing that officers were investigating in 1957 had been at the home of Don King, who would go on to become a famous boxing promoter. Ms. Mapp's encounter with the police that day would not be her last run-in with the law.

Mapp v. Ohio may not ring as familiar as other cases involving civil rights and civil liberties, but it became a legal touchstone that continues to shape cases and stir debate.

Read the rest here.

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  1. (check the third paragraph, Damon)

    1. What’s wrong with the third paragraph?

      1. As The New York Times is now reporting, Dollree Madison died in late October. Here is a portion of the Times’ obituary for the late civil liberties pioneer:

        Emphasis mine.

    2. But Dollee Madison made the first flag, right? So where’s the problem? Why do you hate the flag?

      1. She also makes delicious snack cakes.

        1. The bombing was at Don King’s house. Hostess late bought out Dollree Madison snacks. Hostess makes Ding Dong snacks, which are imported from Canada, where they are called King Dons.

          I’m not sure if I need this tinfoil hat, but I’m going to wear it just in case…

          1. Does that logic allow you to predict the end of the world? I know that has to be somewhere in the message.

        2. “She also makes delicious snack cakes.”

          I prefer eating Little Debbie.

          1. You monster.

          2. Can I get that quarter out from under your pointy boot?

  2. Back to another topic.

    The GOP are magical. They undid the legalization of cannabis in DC all by themselves, before they even take control of Congress! Democrats had nothing to do with it, they weren’t even there!

    GOP kills cannabis legalization in DC all by themselves

    1. Here in CA, Democrats had a supermajority in the Assembly and Senate yet the GOP was able to control the legislature according to news stories?

      All it takes is one GOP member in the legislature and it falls into the GOP’s hands!

      1. Well, when the GOP has the totality of the media in their pockets, they can get away with these things. This is why Obama cannot get anything done and has no choice but to act on his own.

    2. FTA: “Democrats said they didn’t want to interfere in District affairs, but signed on anyway”

      Well that’s OK then.

  3. I like how the NYT article manages to do a hard left, declare John Roberts a mortal enemy of Fourth Amendment, then swerve back into the obituary lane.

    No corpse left untrod upon, so long as it advances the goals of TEAM.

    1. Well, to be fair, they’re not wrong. Though that could really apply to all of the justices except for maybe Sotomayor (and I still can’t believe I’m saying that).

      1. I’m not sure about Justice Wise Latina. Some of her decisions on the Second Circuit indicate that she’s a big fan of the “special needs test” when it comes to the Fourth Amendment (most notably, private parties may initiate searches of passengers, strip searches in juvenile facilities). She also signed off on a warrantless search of a car because the appellants had a diminished expectation of privacy in their vehicles and because a car is “inherently mobile” made a warrant unnecessary.

        1. That’s why I said “maybe”. Out of everyone, she’s the best of a bad group.

  4. “Dollree Mapp, Plaintiff in Groundbreaking 4th Amendment Ruling”

    The state of Ohio proceeded against her, not vice versa.

    1. Well, in that she was listed first, she was the Appellant. So the state proceeded against her originally, but she brought the fight to the Supreme Court.

      1. That doesn’t make her a plaintiff.

  5. The article doesn’t say how she died. Can I assume a SWAT team and no-knock warrant were involved?

    1. This is truly one of the most bizarre articles that I have seen here at H&R. I have no idea how they dug up this obscurity.

      1. Apparently the death was just announced even though it occurred two months ago.

        Other news sites are announcing it as new news.

      2. I guess they have someone whose job is scouring through obscure regional niche newspapers.

  6. Justice Frankfurter wrote a great piece about the development of the Exclusionary Rule back in the 80’s. It started pre-US (if memory serves) and led up to Mapp.

  7. It was a small gesture of defiance….

    Make note: exercising your rights = defiance.

    1. Well, refusing to kowtow to your betters is worse that a slap in the face. It’s like setting a baby on fire. Just vile, awful behavior from peasants.

  8. Your lunchtime derp

    This film plays in the National Museum of Natural History. I find it sad that in the most scientifically advanced nation on earth, this goofy cartoon from 30 years ago is explanation for the origin of life presented to the public.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we0vBoQfSjQ

    1. Oh shit! They used to play that at the Boston Museum of Science too! In high school, my friends and I thought it was hilarious….CHON CH-CH-ON!

  9. My Aunty Mila recently got a nine month old Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 just by parttime work from a computer…
    Try this web-site ::::: http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. Your Aunty Mila is a dirty whore.

  10. The officers later claimed they had a warrant, but neither the police nor the prosecution was ever able to produce any evidence that such a warrant had ever existed. Nonetheless, the police muscled their way inside Mapp’s home after she denied them entry and discovered some purportedly obscene books and photographs.

    They wanted to question a man about a recent bombing and believed he was hiding inside.

    They should have claimed the man inside gave his consent after she was removed so it’s A-Ok. No one was actually inside. Who cares? Certainly not the Nazgul.

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