Friday, December 29, 2006

Curry reviews Long, Mapp v. Ohio

H-Law has posted a review by Lynne Curry, Department of History, Eastern Illinois University, of Carolyn N. Long, Mapp v. Ohio: Guarding Against Unreasonable Searches and Seizures (Lawrence:University Press of Kansas, 2006). She begins:
In June, 1961, the U. S. Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Mapp v. Ohio, thereby launching the "due process revolution" in which the Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, expanded the universe of rights and protections guaranteed to individuals in the criminal justice system. Justice Tom C. Clark's majority opinion held that the "exclusionary rule," by which judges barred evidence gathered in the course of violating the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures from being entered in federal trials, was constitutionally required and thus also applied in state criminal proceedings.
The Mapp ruling was controversial in its time and has remained so to the present day, with courts, legislatures, and even presidents entering the fray at various times attempting to redraw the lines circumscribing law enforcement that Mapp established. On one side were those holding that the exclusionary rule is imbedded within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; without it, protections against unreasonable searches and seizures have no practical effect. Their opponents insisted that the exclusionary rule is not constitutionally mandated at all but rather is a "judicially created" rule of evidence and thus states must be allowed to decide for themselves whether and how it will be enforced.
Mapp v. Ohio is the centerpiece of Carolyn N. Long's careful, detailed study,but the book is about much more than the case itself, for Long also provides an extensive examination of the complex and shifting legal and political contexts in which the exclusionary rule evolved, both before and after Mapp.

For the rest, go here.