This submission seeks to analyze the decision in Mapp v. Ohio and bring out the facts of that case, highlighting the similarities and differences in facts between the case and the fact pattern. It will then highlight the rules that the United States Supreme Court developed in deciding Mapp v. Ohio and apply the same to the fact pattern in a bid to arrive at a decision consistent with the legal principle of stare decisis.
In the Mapp’s case, police in Ohio got wind of a bombing suspect and an illegal gambling machine that were in Mapp’s house. When three policemen got at her house, she refused to allow the policemen in, demanding a search warrant. Two policemen left to go get the search warrant and returned after a while with more police officers while brandishing a white piece of paper which they gave her upon demanding to see a warrant. At the same time, they stormed into her house and took back the piece of paper from her by force and handcuffed her for being belligerent. The police officers did not find the bombing suspect and the illegal gambling machine but they chanced upon a pornographic magazine in her dresser and she was charged with being in possession of pornographic materials.
Mapp was convicted but the United States Supreme Court overturned the decision of the trial court, giving reasons that the evidence largely relied on to convict her was obtained illegally and as such contravened her Fourth Amendment Rights. Other cases in which the United States Supreme Court has reiterated this position include Mincey v. Arizona, Thompson v. Louisiana and Flippo v. West Virginia.
Facts relevant and those not relevant in the fact pattern
In the fact pattern, Detectives suspect that Martin has possession of cocaine and go further to establish that indeed that was the position. One detective prepares a search warrant and goes to have it signed by a judge but the judge was presiding over a hearing and the detective had to wait; thus was unable to get it signed. The other detectives on seeing that they may lose the opportunity to seize the suspects and the cocaine, storm into his premises without a search warrant. Unfortunately for them, they fail to get the cocaine and instead chance upon a gun illegally possessed by the suspect and some amounts of heroin and cocaine. Martin is indicted and her attorney files a motion to suppress the evidence on grounds that her Fourth Amendment Rights were violated.
The irrelevant facts in the fact pattern include how the detectives suspected that Martin was dealing in cocaine and how they confirmed that he indeed had possession of cocaine. It is also irrelevant as to how the suspect’s house was known as the source or origin as the same is not logically probative or disapprobative of any facts in issue. The fact that one detective was driving to go and see the judge to sign the search warrant also falls into the irrelevant category because the detectives stormed the suspects house without a search warrant. The detectives’ intention to procure the search warrant is, therefore, irrelevant. How the detectives pushed a white male at the door and the items in the garbage bag also fall in this category as they add no probative value to the case or the motion by Martin’s advocate. It is only relevant that the detectives stormed Martin’s house without a search warrant and collected evidence.
Exclusionary Rule and Fruit of the Poisonous Tree
The exclusionary rule prevents States from using most evidence obtained through means which contravenes the fundamental rights and liberties as conferred upon the citizens by the Constitution of the United States of America. These include the Fourth Amendment Rights, Fifth Amendment Rights and the Sixth Amendment Rights. The Fifth Amendment Rights are the rights against self-incrimination and the locus classicus in that vein is Miranda v. Arizona. The Sixth Amendment Rights are the rights to counsel and the locus classicus is INS v Lopez-Mendoza. The exclusionary rule extends to evidence obtained subsequent to evidence that already falls within the exclusionary rule. Such subsequent evidence is known as the Fruit of the Poisonous tree. The doctrine of the fruit of the Poisonous tree is an extension of the exclusionary rule and was established in Silverthorne Lumbar Co. v. United States. It operates to the extent that if illegally obtained evidence leads to the discovery of other evidence then all the evidence is excluded. Despite the law of evidence being largely exclusionary, there are certain exceptions to this rule.
It is clear that the evidence collected from Martin’s house was obtained without a search warrant and as such was a contravention of Martin’s Fourth Amendment Rights. As such the court would rule that all evidence collected at Martin’s house, relying on the exclusionary rule and the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine; are inadmissible.
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