In the three cases; Weeks v. United States, Silversthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. United States, and Mapp v. Ohio the Fourth Amendment of Searches and Seizures is violated in the U.S. Constitution. Observing each case there are clear patterns of an evoked idea based on suspicion without reason and unwarranted searches. In all cases leads to unlawful arrests made by law enforcement officials.
Analyzing the three cases; Weeks v. United States, Silversthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. v. United States, and Mapp v. Ohio I will explain the main issues of questionable reason in each case. Observing the precedent or laws the court used in applying law to the facts of the cases I will interpret how the court came to its ultimate conclusion. In my own conclusion I will reinstate the facts and issues of the cases and how these three cases formed the standards of constitutional searches and seizures in the United States.
Weeks v. United States was an example of constitutional policing and violation of the Fourth Amendment.In the United States Constitution Amendment IV Search and Seizure was passed by Congress on September 25, 1789 then ratified on December 15, 1791. In the case of Weeks v. United States it took place in 1914. The main issue involved in the case was the court seizing a search of property and items without a warrant which violated the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The precedent or laws the court used in order to come to its ultimate conclusion was by asking Freemont Weeks neighbor to where to find the key of his home, searched his home and belongings without his knowledge, handed off the materials to the U.S. Marshalls and then had him arrested.
How the court applied the law to the facts of the case based on Freemont Weeks being accused of Criminal Code by mailing lottery tickets while on his job. In conclusion Freemont Weeks was a victim of an unlawful search by the police based on hearsay from coworkers which turned his life upside down upon the unwarranted search and loss of his job. Freemont Weeks filed a petition against the police whom took his belongings after the incident. This was a clear violation of Weeks rights and of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. According to DAVIES, T. Y. (2010), “Although Weeks is generally described as the case that invented the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule, that was only the final of several doctrinal innovations made in that ruling. In a burst of activist creativity, the Weeks justices extended the Fourth Amendment’s protections to regulate the conduct of officers as well as legislation and court orders. They also reinvigorated the traditional understanding that a warrant was required for a lawful search of a house.”(Pg936Para3)
Silversthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. v. United States was an example of constitutional policing and violation of the Fourth Amendment. In this case the District Court wrongly fined and accused Silversthrone Lumber Company, Inc., of it evading taxes and held Frederick W. Silverthorne in contempt and imprisonment. The main issue involved in the case the unwarranted search and seizures of materials from Frederick W. Silverthorne which federal agents used in attempt to persecute Silverthorne for tax evasion.The precedent or laws the court used in order to come to its ultimate conclusion was first ordering Frederick W. Silverthorne to produce documents of payment history to a grand jury but those documents were already taken earlier upon a search and seizure and submitted as evidence against him. Therefore, in the end it was unlawful.
How the court applied the law to the facts of the case was the evidence became inadmissible since it was attained by an unwarranted search by federal agents which used Frederick W. Silverthorne’s documents which were seized as evidence against him in court. “The facts were simple. An indictment upon a single specific charge having been brought against the two Silverthornes mentioned, they both were arrested at their homes early in the morning of February 25, 1919, and were detained in custody a number of hours. While they were thus detained representatives of the Department of Justice and the United States marshal without a shadow of authority went to the office of their company and made a clean sweep of all the books, papers, and documents found there.” – In Silversthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. v. United States (Pg390Para2). In conclusion Frederick W. Silverthrone was a victim of an unwarranted and unrealistic serach of his property and company. It was a biased and prejudiced judgement made against him based on suspicion and nothing more with absolutely no evidence against him. This was a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In this case, Mapp v. Ohio there’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution of Searches and Seizures. The main issue involved in the case is that the evidence obtained was unlawful and the search and seizure was done without a warrant or court order. According to PRICE, P. J. (2010), “The “most famous search and seizure case in American history” Mapp v. Ohio would be decided that Term. Mapp held that the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” required the exclusion of evidence found through an illegal search by state and local police officers, extending to the states a rule that had previously applied only to federal law enforcement. Mapp became a pivotal chapter in the story of civil rights in the United States.”(Pg54Para1)
The precedent or laws the court used in order to come to its ultimate conclusion was that Dollree Mapp was involved in illegal money dealings through a gambling game and made illegal bets to steal money. Police came to her home and asked to come inside and after speaking to her attorney she refused to have a search without a warrant. Later on when more police arrived she didn’t answer this time and they forced their way into her entry of her home by breaking into her home. The next thing that happened was an officer showing a fake piece of paper as a warrant and falsely arresting her based on belligerence. Later on the items seized in her home were used to prosecute her to prison for one to seven years. Finally, she proved the searches were unwarranted and judgement was in her favor. How the court applied the law to the facts of the case was that this was a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled in Dollree Mapps favor that the search of her property was unlawful. In conclusion Dollree Mapp was a victim of an unlawful search and seizure without a warrant which went as far as almost committing her to a seven year sentence in prison. This was a clearn violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
How these three cases formed the standards of constitutional searches and seizures in the United States by setting examples of common constitutional violations of citizens Fourth Amendments rights by law enforcement officials. Unauthorized searches and seizures still happen today in 2017 related to racial profiling, profiling based on identity or suspicion, and prejudice. More and more it is common that law enforcement officials have violated the law themselves.
DAVIES, T. Y. (2010). THE SUPREME COURT GIVETH AND THE SUPREME COURT TAKETH AWAY. THE CENTURY OF FOURTH AMENDMENT “SEARCH AND SEIZURE” DOCTRINE. Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology, 100(3), 933-1041.
PRICE, P. J. (2010). Mapp v. Ohio Revisited: A Law Clerk’s Diary. Journal Of Supreme Court History, 35(1), 54-70. Doi:10.1111/j.1540-5818.2010.01230.x
Silverthorne Lumber Company, Inc., Et Al. v. United States. 252 United States. 385. (1920). Retrieved from
For more information on this topic please read Constitutional Policing Community Oriented, SILVERTHORNE LUMBER COMPANY, INC., ET AL. v. UNITED STATES., Mapp v. Ohio Podcast, The Supreme Court and Fourth Amendment