The purpose here is to examine critically the recent opinion of the United States Supreme Court in Mapp v. Ohio; to place the opinion in historical perspective; to examine important questions the opinion raises but leaves unanswered; and to consider the implications of the opinion in the difficult area of federal-state relationships. Mapp holds that evidence procured by state officers in violation of the fourth amendment is inadmissible in state criminal prosecutions. Building on certain dicta in Wolf v. Colorado, while at the same time repudiating the actual holding of that case, the Court found not only that the bare command of the fourth amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures was implicit in the concept of "ordered liberty" required by due process of law but that "ordered liberty" likewise required state courts to exclude evidence obtained by state officers in violation of the fourth amendment. Mapp also contains a meaningful constitutional message for the Congress. Mapp is noteworthy not only for the blow it strikes against oppressive police investigatory activities and for its dramatic impact on the conduct of state criminal prosecutions but because it is also one of the few times since the early thirties that the Court has seen fit to take constitutional authority away from the Congress. Mapp is one of the most significant opinions rendered by the Court in the area of criminal procedure since the turn of the century.
Dale W. Broeder,
The Decline and Fall of Wolf v. Colorado,
41 Neb. L. Rev. 185
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol41/iss1/7