Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Dolly Mapp

Dolly Goes to Washington

Attorney Kearns announced his intention to challenge Mapps conviction, and Judge Lybarger granted her continued freedom on a $2,500 bond during the appeal process.

Defense Attorney Alexander Kearns
Defense Attorney Alexander Kearns
Kearns appealed to higher Ohio courts on a number of counts, including the validity of the states obscenity law. The appeals failed in two lower courts, and Kearns turned to the Ohio Supreme Court.

There, the state justices sorted out the mysterious search warrant once and for all. The cops had no warrant. The document that Sgt. Delau showed Mapp was a police affidavit used to secure a warrant, but he had not gone the next step of gaining a judges signature to authorize the search.

The Ohio court ruled, however, that the evidence seized was valid even if the search warrant was notthe essence of the exclusionary rule. The justices pointed out that Ohio did not exclude such evidence.

Mapp lost again, but she decided to press on, at a cost of $8,000, to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her attorney filed the notice of appeal on June 15, 1960, three years after the police raid.

In his summary of appeal issues, Kearns wrote that Mapps constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth amendments had been violated by the Cleveland police departments shocking disregard for human rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief supporting Mapps appeal.

In 1960, the Supreme Court received 2,313 appeal petitions. The justices agreed to hear fewer than one in 25 of the appeals.

Yet they agreed to consider Dollree Mapps case, with its search-and-seizure issues that had been left unresolved for decades in American criminal justice.

The Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments in Mapp v. Ohio for March 29, 1961.

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