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Mapp v. Ohio (1961) Background Summary Ms. Dollree Mapp and her daughter lived in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving information that an individual wanted in connection with a recent bombing was hiding in Mapp's house, the Cleveland police knocked on her door and demanded entrance. Mapp called her attorney and subsequently refused to let the police in when they failed to produce a search warrant. After several hours of surveillance and the arrival of more officers, the police again sought entrance to the house. Although Mapp did not allow them to enter, they gained access by forcibly opening at least one door. Once the police were inside the house, Mapp confronted them and demanded to see their warrant. One of the officers held up a piece of paper claiming it was a search warrant. Mapp grabbed the paper but an officer recovered it and handcuffed Mapp “because she had been belligerent.” Dragging Mapp upstairs, officers proceeded to search not only her room, but also her daughter's bedroom, the kitchen, dinette, living room, and basement. In the course of the basement search, police found a trunk containing “lewd and lascivious” books, pictures, and photographs. As a result, Mapp was arrested for violating Ohio's criminal law prohibiting the possession of obscene materials. At trial, the court found her guilty of the violation based on the evidence presented by the police. When Mapp’s attorney questioned the officers about the alleged warrant and asked for it to be produced, the police were unable or unwilling to do so. Nonetheless, Mapp was found guilty and sentenced to 1 to 7 years in the Ohio Women’s Reformatory. Upon her conviction, Mapp appealed her case to the Supreme Court of Ohio. Her attorney argued that she should never have been brought to trial because the material evidence resulted from an illegal, warrantless search. Because the search was unlawful, he maintained, the evidence was illegally obtained and must also be excluded. The Supreme Court of Ohio agreed the search was illegal but said the evidence obtained from it was still admissible in court. Mapp appealed again to the Supreme Court of the United States. The case came down to this fundamental question: may evidence obtained through a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment be admissible in state criminal proceedings? The Fourth Amendment states “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The Fourth Amendment, however, does not define when a search or seizure is “unreasonable” nor does it specify how evidence obtained from an “unreasonable” search should be treated. The Ruling The Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear Mapp's case in 1960. It handed down its 6-3 decision in 1961, ruling that people had an expectation of privacy cy in their homes and that it was common sense that evidence illegally obtained should not be used in a court of law. Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) Background Summary Between midnight and 8:00 a.m. on June 3, 1961, a burglary occurred at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida. In the course of the burglary, a window was smashed and the cigarette machine and jukebox were broken into. A witness claimed to have seen Clarence Earl Gideon in the poolroom early that morning. When Gideon was found nearby with a pint of wine and some change in his pockets, the police arrested him. and charged him with breaking and entering. Gideon was a semi-literate drifter who could not afford a lawyer. When he appeared at the Florida Circuit Court for trial, he asked the judge to appoint one for him. Gideon argued that the Court should do so because the Sixth Amendment says that everyone is entitled to a lawyer. The judge denied his request, claiming that the state does not have to provide a poor person with a lawyer unless "special circumstances" exist. Gideon was left to represent himself. He had been arrested many times before, so he understood some of the legal procedures. However, he did a poor job of defending himself. For instance, his choice of witnesses was unusual–he called the police officers who arrested him to testify on his behalf. He lacked skill in questioning witnesses, which made it difficult for him to present his case. Gideon was found guilty of breaking and entering and petty larceny, which is a felony in Florida. He was sentenced to five years in a Florida state prison. While there, he began studying law in the prison library. Gideon's study of the law reaffirmed his belief that the Circuit Court's refusal to appoint counsel for him constituted a denial of his rights. With that in mind, he filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Florida for habeas corpus, which is an order to free him because he had been illegally imprisoned. That petition was rejected, but Gideon persevered. From his prison cell, he handwrote a petition asking the Supreme Court of United States to hear his case. The Court allowed him to file it in forma pauperis, or free of charge. After reading the petition, they agreed to hear his case. When the Supreme Court of the United States agrees to hear a case, it does so because the case "presents questions whose resolution will have an immediate importance far beyond the particular facts and parties involved." The justices were interested not simply with the merits of Gideon's case, but with the larger issue of whether poor people charged with noncapital offenses are entitled to a free lawyer in state criminal trials. In a 1942 case, Betts v. Brady, the Court had ruled that in state criminal trials, the state must supply an indigent defendant with a lawyer only if special circumstances exist. These special circumstances include complex charges, incompetence, and illiteracy on the part of the defendant. Gideon did not claim any of these special circumstances, so for the Court to rule in his behalf, they would need to overturn Betts v. Brady. The Supreme Court of the United States asked both sides to present arguments on the issue of "Should Betts v. Brady be overturned"? The Ruling The decision was unanimous. Justice Black delivered the opinion of the Court: “The Sixth Amendment provides, ‘In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.’ We have construed this to mean that in federal courts counsel must be provided for defendants unable to employ counsel unless the right is competently and intelligently waived. ... “We accept Betts v. Brady's assumption, based as it was on our prior cases, that a provision of the Bill of Rights, which is ‘fundamental and essential to a fair trial’ is made obligatory upon the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. We think the Court in Betts was wrong, however, in concluding that the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of counsel is not one of these fundamental rights. ... “...there are few defendants charged with crime, few indeed, who fail to hire the best lawyers they can get to prepare and present their defenses. That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries. The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. ... “The judgment is reversed and the cause is remanded to the Supreme Court of Florida for further action not inconsistent with this opinion.” Miranda v. Arizona (1966) Background Summary A kidnapping and sexual assault occurred in Phoenix, Arizona, in March 1963. On March 13, Ernesto Miranda, 23, was arrested in his home, taken to the police station, identified by the victim, and taken into an interrogation room. Miranda was not told of his rights to counsel prior to questioning. Two hours later, investigators emerged from the room with a written confession signed by Miranda. It included a typed disclaimer, also signed by Miranda, stating that he had “full knowledge of my legal rights, understanding any statement I make may be used against me,” and that he had knowingly waived those rights. Two weeks later at a preliminary hearing, Miranda again was denied counsel. At his trial he did have a lawyer, whose objections to the use of Miranda's signed confession as evidence were overruled. Miranda was convicted of kidnapping and rape, and received a 20-year sentence. According to Miranda, the police clearly violated Miranda's Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, and his Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel. Arizona ignored both the Escobedo rule (evidence obtained from an illegally obtained confession is inadmissible in court) and the Gideon rule (all felony defendants have the right to an attorney) in prosecuting Miranda. His confession was illegally obtained and should be thrown out. His conviction was faulty, and he deserved a new trial. The State of Arizona argued that Ernesto Miranda was no stranger to police procedures. He negotiated with police officers with intelligence and understanding. He signed the confession willingly. The prosecution was proper, his conviction was based on Arizona law, and his imprisonment was just. The Supreme Court should uphold his conviction and should not further cripple the work of police. The Supreme Court had to decide if a confession was admissible in a court of law if it was obtained without warnings against self-incrimination and without legal counsel rights guaranteed to all persons by the Fifth and Sixth amendments. The Ruling By a 5-4 margin, the Court voted to overturn Miranda's conviction. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Warren declared that the burden is upon the state to demonstrate that “procedural safeguards effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination” are followed. “ The current practice of 'incommunicado' [unable to communicate with the world] interrogation is at odds with one of our Nation's most cherished principles–that the individual may not be compelled to incriminate himself.” Warren spelled out the rights of the accused and the responsibilities of the police. Police must warn a suspect “prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.” The creation of the Miranda Warning put on the shoulders of the police the burden of informing citizens subject to questioning in a criminal investigation of their rights to “due process.” Ernesto Miranda, retracting his confession, was tried again by the State of Arizona, found guilty, and sent to prison. His retrial, based on a prisoner's successful appeal, did not constitute “double jeopardy.” United States v. Leon (1984) Background Summary In 1981, police in Burbank, California received a tip identifying Patsy Stewart and Armando Sanchez as drug dealers. Police began surveillance of their homes and followed leads based on the cars that frequented the residences. The police identified Ricardo Del Castillo and Alberto Leon as also being involved in the operation. Police officers initiated surveillance of Leon's activities. A search warrant was issued pursuant to that surveillance, and a large quantity of drugs were seized. Leon was charged with violations of federal drug-trafficking laws. At trial, the court granted Leon's suppression motion because the warrant was not issued on probable cause. Specifically, the court found that the warrant contained allegations of an untested informant and limited corroboration by the police. The court of appeals affirmed; they refused to accept a good faith exception to the exclusionary rule. The United State Justice Department appealed to the Supreme Court. The Court had to decide if the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule should be modified so as not to bar the use of evidence obtained by officers acting in reasonable reliance on a search warrant issued by a detached and neutral magistrate but ultimately found to be unsupported by probable cause. The Ruling The Court decided 6-3 that Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule should be modified to permit the introduction of evidence obtained in the reasonable good-faith belief that a search or seizure was in accord with the Fourth Amendment. The officer's reliance on the warrant must be objectively reasonable. The exclusionary rule is not a personal constitutional right. It is a judicially created remedy intended to safeguard Fourth Amendment rights through its deterrent effect. Therefore, the costs and benefits of excluding inherently trustworthy tangible evidence must be weighed, and the remedy applied only where its costs are acceptable and its deterrent effect is well served. The rule's chief benefit is to deter police misconduct, not to punish judicial errors. No evidence has been shown that relaxing the rule would decrease a judge's professional commitment to protecting Fourth Amendment rights. Courts may allow a good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule. Good faith is an exception to the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule is a judicially created rule designed to deter police misconduct. The rule should not be applied when it does not serve its function. If a police officer in good faith relies on a defective warrant, he is not guilty of misconduct. To suppress evidence when a warrant is defective does nothing to deter future misconduct, because there is nothing the officer should have done differently. The purposes of the exclusionary rule are not achieved by suppressing evidence obtained in good faith reliance on a defective search warrant. New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985) Background Summary In 1980, a teacher at Piscataway High School in New Jersey found two girls smoking in a restroom. At the school, smoking in the restrooms was a violation of school rules; smoking was allowed only in the designated smoking area. The teacher escorted the two girls to the principal’s office, where they met with an assistant vice principal, Theodore Choplick. One of the girls was T.L.O., a freshman who was 14- years-old. The girl who was with T.L.O. admitted that she had been smoking; T.L.O., however, denied the allegation, and said that she did not, in fact, smoke at all. Choplick took T.L.O. into his office and instructed her to turn over her purse. He opened the purse and found a pack of cigarettes. He took the cigarettes out of the purse and showed them to T.L.O., accusing her of having lied about smoking in the restroom. As he removed the cigarettes, he noticed a package of cigarette rolling papers, which he believed were an indicator of involvement with marijuana. Therefore, he proceeded with a more thorough search of T.L.O.'s purse. This search yielded the following items: a small amount of marijuana, a pipe, empty plastic bags, a significant amount of money in one-dollar bills, a list of students who owed T.L.O. money, and letters implicating T.L.O. in dealing marijuana. Choplick then called T.L.O.’s mother and the police. The mother came to the school and, at the request of the police, took her daughter to the police station. Choplick turned the evidence from the purse over to the police. At the police station, T.L.O. admitted that she had been selling marijuana at school. As a result of T.L.O.'s confession and the evidence from her purse, the State of New Jersey brought delinquency charges against T.L.O. in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Middlesex County. T.L.O. tried to have the evidence from her purse suppressed, contending that the search violated the Fourth Amendment. She also claimed that her confession should be suppressed on the grounds that it was tainted by the unlawful search. The juvenile court rejected her Fourth Amendment arguments, although it conceded that the Fourth Amendment applies to searches by school officials. However, it held that a school official may search a student if that official has a “reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is in the process of being committed, or reasonable cause to believe that the search is necessary to maintain school discipline or enforce school policies.” This is a lower standard than the “probable cause” standard, which is required when police conduct a search. The juvenile court concluded that Choplick's search was, therefore, reasonable. Choplick was justified in searching the purse, the Court said, because of his reasonable suspicion that T.L.O. had violated school rules by smoking in the restroom. When he opened the purse, evidence of marijuana use was in plain view; this justified the further search of the purse. T.L.O. was found to be a delinquent and, in January 1982, she was sentenced to one year of probation. T.L.O. appealed her conviction to the appellate division, which found no violation of the Fourth Amendment, but returned the case to juvenile court for determination of a possible Fifth Amendment problem with T.L.O.’s confession. T.L.O. then appealed the appellate division’s Fourth Amendment ruling to the Supreme Court of New Jersey. The Supreme Court of New Jersey reversed the appellate division's ruling and ordered the evidence found in T.L.O.'s purse suppressed. The New Jersey Court relied on Supreme Court of the United States precedent to hold that whenever an “official” search violates constitutional rights, the evidence may not be used in a criminal case. Furthermore, the Supreme Court of New Jersey found that Choplick’s search was not reasonable. Mere possession of cigarettes was not a violation of school rules; therefore, a desire for evidence of smoking in the restroom did not justify the search. In addition, the further search of the purse was not justified by the presence of cigarette rolling papers. The Ruling In 1983, the Supreme Court of the United States granted the State of New Jersey’s petition for certiorari. In 1985, the Court handed down its decision. It reversed the New Jersey Court’s decision in a 6-3 vote, contending that students have a right to privacy at school but that right is limited by teachers’ and administrators’ need to maintain discipline on schools grounds. Therefore, school officials need only “reasonable cause” to search students or their possessions, not a warrant or probable cause.
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