The case involved Fremont Weeks and the police on December 21st of 1911. In what seems to have set the stage for future legal battles, the police officers had invaded the house of the suspect over an alleged sale of lottery tickets. In doing so, the police had acted without the search warrant but went ahead to take several materials from Weeks’ house which they presented to the District Attorney. In their illegal searches, the officers seized anything considered a paper material including letters, books, money, and any other property considered Weeks’. In addition to the unwarranted searches, they had arrested him at work without an arrest warrant. The evidence gathered through the illegal searches was later on tabled as evidence in Weeks case, but he objected them on the ground that they had been obtained in contravention of the Fourth Amendment (Maclin, 2012). He had also demanded that his illegally seized properties be returned before the admission of any evidence. However, the court opted to overrule the objection and admit the evidence despite their having been gathered through illegal methods and in contravention of the said Amendments.
The question involved here is whether the trial judge ought to have excluded the evidence that had been gathered by the police in a search that had violated the Fourth Amendment? The answer would be an obvious yes. Though the judge had admitted the evidence in Week’s case despite being obtained through illegal means, it was a clear breach of his fundamental rights and against the 4th Amendment. The decision was later reversed by an appeals court that declared the use of evidence gathered via unreasonable seizures and unwarranted searches were not admissible in any federal court and thus could not be used against the individual. Eventually, justice was served to Fremont Weeks since the curling of the district court was overruled for admissibility of illegally obtained evidence (Maclin, 2012).
Silverthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. v. United States
It is a case in which the company owners had requested a reversal of a decision made by a District Court that had imposed a fine of 250-dollars for contempt of court, as well as ruling that one of the company owners be imprisoned until purging himself of the contempt. The District Court had taken the decision based on the fact that the accused had refused to adhere to the subpoenas and a court order to produce company documents and books before the federal jury (Dongjun, 2007). According to the case facts, after the company owners were arrested and held in custody, the law enforcers made way into the company and obtained the documents without authority. The government had opted to make copies of the original documents and used them against the accused. The issue is whether the government was right to apply the knowledge they gained from the illegally seized materials as evidence against the defendant. The answer is NO. The provisions of the 4th Amendment forbid the use of illegally obtained evidence from use in any form of jurisdiction. The use of the knowledge obtained from illegally seized documents would be undermining the fundamental principles of the 4th Amendments and thus the government should not have used it. It was wrong to use coercion and force to obtain evidence against a person then use the same to convict them. The Appeal had overturned the ruling that ordered the owner of the company to comply with the subpoenas. However, the appeal yielded an overturning of the previous court decision and stated that such a ruling only served to reduce the 4th Amendment to mere “form of words.”
Mapp v. Ohio
In this case, police officers had invaded Dollree Mapp’s residence on the ground of suspicion for harboring someone who might be bomber. However, during the invasion, the police failed to find their alleged suspect being harbored by accused. They then came across obscene pictures in her basement. Consequently, she was arrested for possessing such pictures and later on convicted on the same account in an Ohio court. Owing to the fundamental rights that had been set in the 4th Amendment, Mapp took her discontents to appeal to the Supreme Court to detest her conviction thereby stating that her 4th Amendment rights had been violated. According to the facts of the case, Mapp was convicted based on the illegally obtained obscene pictures during the law enforcement officers’ search for a fugitive (Dongjun, 2007). The main question was whether the evidence that had been gathered through illegal search was right to be admitted in the proceeding? The answer would simply be No. According to the Supreme Court ruling, any evidence that was collected through means violating the 4th Amendment is considered to be in violation of the defendant’s rights thus inadmissible in any state court.
How the cases have shaped the constitutional searches and seizures in US
The above legal battles set the stage for several contentious issues that brought into perspective the question of when it was right to apply the exclusionary rule. They have helped shape the application of the exclusionary rule to the adherence with the rights of the accused. The cases now serve as a precedent in the corridors of justice in cases relating to police violation of the rights of defendants with respect to illegal seizures of evidence. According to the first amendment, the materials obtained through violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights were admissible but the exclusionary rule bars such evidence inadmissible before any legal system as it is considered to be violating the rights and contravening the provisions of the 4th Amendment. The admissibility question in the cases was a critical issue, but the fundamental rights of the accused are well protected by the 4th Amendment. The police are the custodian of the law thus should adhere to its requirements while undertaking the implementation of the same.
Maclin, T. (2012). The Warren Court on Exclusion: Mapp v. Ohio, then Retreat. The Supreme Court and the Fourth Amendment's Exclusionary Rule, 83-125.
Dongjun, H. (2007). Flexible application of exclusionary rule to the concrete criminal cases in the U.S.A. SungKyunKwan Law Review, 19(2), 389–404.