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When May Police Search without a Warrant - Research Paper Example

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It is common knowledge to most Americans that police must have a warrant before searching someone’s property. …
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When May Police Search without a Warrant
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Download file to see previous pages Besides, every time the cops suspect someone on Law and Order and every other television program, they have to stand outside the bad guy’s house or car, waiting and hoping he doesn’t run, until they can get some judge signs a search warrant. Either that or all the evidence seized is thrown out and cannot be used in court when they take the person to trial. Well, this is true to some extent and it all boils down to whether the judge thinks the police have probable cause. Those two little words, as written above have been the cornerstone of the American legal system for over two centuries and comes from a time when police and soldiers could and did enter private property without cause and certainly without a piece of paper saying they could. The Founding Fathers were fed up with these instances and were determined that American police would not be allowed to search and seize people’s possessions. ...
But that ruling did not filter down to the states. In 1957 a lady named Dollree Mapp of Cleveland was suspected of harboring a fugitive. When the police entered her residence, waving a paper they claimed to be a warrant, they did not find their suspect. Instead police found a stash of obscene material and Ms Mapp was convicted of possession of pornography. Her attorneys eventually appealed her conviction all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In June 1961 the Court issued its ruling in Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643. That ruling not only sided with Ms Mapp in that evidence was illegally seized and overturned her individual case but some justices chided the Ohio courts and the police officers for their “Running roughshod over appellant”. (Cornell) But the biggest ramification of Mapp v. Ohio was that all of the states were likewise now required to apply the exclusionary rule. Thus, a benchmark was born, and ever since all courts throughout the country have been wary of allowing evidence obtained without a legally obtained search warrant. Indeed they have exercised such caution that police and prosecutors alike have felt frustration for almost half a century, knowing that some evidence, although somewhat shadily obtained, might withstand the appellate court system. Six years later in Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967) the Supreme Court broadened the scope of the Fourth Amendment. In that, Charles Katz was convicted of bookie operations based mainly on wiretaps the FBI had placed on a public phone booth Katz was known to frequent. The US Attorney argued since it was a public booth Katz did not have any reasonable expectation of privacy and this thought was upheld by the lower courts. Yet the Court sided with the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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