National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1955-1969: We demand liberty and justice for all

June 19, 1961
Evidence from an illegal search can’t be used in state courts

The Fourteenth Amendment

“Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws.”
–Justice Tom Clark
Mapp v. Ohio

Seven police officers broke into Dollree Mapp’s Cleveland home looking for a bombing suspect.

They had no search warrant, and found only some “obscene” literature. Mapp said a boarder had left it, but she was convicted of possessing it anyway.

Today the Supreme Court threw out her conviction. The Court has said that the Fourth Amendment bans wrongfully seized evidence in federal trials. Today it said the ban, called the “exclusionary rule”, applies to state criminal trials too.

The Court says that having different rules for federal and state prosecutors would lead to injustice. Critics warn that more criminals can now be set free on technicalities.

Read about it in the New York times

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