Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dolly Mapp

"A Determined Woman"

Dolly Mapp made her way back into the news, as well.

She sold her house in Cleveland and moved to New York a few years after her successful Supreme Court appeal.

She dabbled in real estate and a furniture business, among other things.

In 1973, Dolly Mapp once again answered a knock on her door and found a small squadron of Queens detectives at her threshold. One of them said, We have a search warrant this time.

She allowed them inside, as required by law.

The cops had had Mapp under surveillance for six weeks as a suspected fence for stolen property.

In her home police found stolen television sets, furs, silver and antiques. They also found 50,000 $3 hits of heroin.

She was convicted at trial and sentenced to 20 years in prison under New Yorks tough new drugs laws championed by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller.

Mapp served more than 9 years, from 1972 until 1981, before Gov. Hugh Carey, who opposed the Rockefeller laws, commuted her sentence.

Now in her 70s, Mapp lives in St. Albans, Queens.

In a telephone interview, she told Crime Library that the Cleveland police raid seems like just yesterday.

She hasnt forgotten a single detail.

They said they had a warrant, she said. I said, What is your warrant for? When he wouldnt say, I stood firm. I guess I was a little belligerent at times. But I know right from wrong, and I knew I was right in this case. I think I might have died for my rights at that point.

She acknowledged that the police probably were surprised to find such a determined woman when they knocked on her door. Black people tended to cow to cops in 1957, she said.

I was always a determined woman, she said, and I suppose I grew even more determined as a single mother trying to raise a child. I knew I was being railroaded, and I said Im not going to take this lying down. I was determined to take it as far as I needed to take it, and it turned out that meant going to the Supreme Court.

Mapp said she had no regrets over Mapp v. Ohio, pronouncing vee as a lawyer might.

I stand firm on my convictions. Always have, she said. I believe you dont run away from nothing. You have to be man enough or woman enough to stand and fight if its something worth fighting for. And Mapp v. Ohio was worth fighting for.

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