Brief OneOlmstead v.
United States 277 US 438, 48 S. Ct. 564, 72 L. Ed. 944Facts: The federal government suspected the defendant of illegally smuggling alcohol during the Prohibition era. In order to prove Olmstead’s connection, the government wiretapped Olmstead’s phones and received most of their evidence from the wiretapping. The government did not receive a warrant or any kind of approval for the wiretapping.
Issue: The issue in this case is whether the use of evidence from private telephone conversations between the defendants and others, seized by wiretapping, resulted as a violation of both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Decision: 5-4 Decision for the United States. Reasoning: The Court decided at a vote of 5-4 that both the Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights of the recorded parties were not violated. • The use of wiretapped conversations as incriminating evidence doesn’t violate their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination because they were not illegally forced to have those conversations. • Olmstead’s Fourth Amendment rights were not infringed because a wiretapping alone does not equal a search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment.
A search and seizure actually refers to a physical examination of someone’s possessions. Separate Opinions: Justice Brandeis wrote an opinion that differed from the overall decision of the court. Brandeis believed that it is an invasion of privacy and that the constitution should defend invasions of personal privacy. Brandeis, along with the three other Justice’s that disagreed with the ruling, also agreed that it was a violation of Olmstead’s Fourth Amendment rights.Analysis:This case is very significant when it relates to illegal search and seizures as they relate to technology. This court decided that the government did not violate Olmstead’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights by wiretapping. One thing to note on this case was that the government never entered his property to place the wiretap, they wiretapped the phone lines outside his property. This case was the beginning of a larger conversation that has been discussed in other cases and laws, from Katz vs.
United States to the Patriot Act. Brief TwoUnited States v. Jones 132 S. Ct. 945, 565 US 400, 181 L. Ed.
2d 911Facts: Jones was arrested for drug possession after an illegal tracker was placed on Jones’s vehicle by police. No warrant was issued for the tracker. Issue: The issue is whether placing the tracker is grounds for a violation of the fourth amendment, particularly an illegal search and seizure.Reasoning: The Court decided at a unanimous vote that it is a violation of the fourth amendment to place a tracker on a vehicle without a warrant.
• The fourth amendment states that people have a right to be secure with their property. A vehicle is their property, which means that it creates an illegal search by placing the tracker to check on Jones’s movement.Separate Opinions: While all members of the court agreed in unanimous decision, Justice Alito did have an opinion in difference with Justice Scallia. Justice Alito believed that the questions should have been more focused on a violation of a reasonable belief of privacy than illegal search and seizure. Justice Sotomayor also released an opinion that focuses on privacy violation as well.
Analysis:This case is also very significant when it relates to illegal search and seizures as they relate to technology. The unanimous decision against an illegal search is going to be an imperative decision as our technology advances. I really like the differing opinion as well by Justice Alito, and think that this could also be used as a way to discuss privacy as well.Brief ThreeGideon v. Wainwright 372 US 335, 83 S. Ct. 792, 9 L.
Ed. 2d 799Facts: Gideon was charged with a felony in Florida. He requested a lawyer, but was not given one due to it not being required by Florida state law. Florida state law at this point only required council during capital cases, not during felony casesIssue: The issue in this case is whether Gideon has a right to council under the sixth amendmentDecision: Unanimous Decision for the Gideon. Reasoning: The Court decided with a unanimous decision that the sixth amendment promises council as a fundamental right to anyone who needs it in any criminal case.
• Florida only required council for capital cases previous to this ruling. Due to the sixth amendment, which guarantees counsel, and the fourteenth amendment, which guarantees a fair trial for all, Floridians now have a guarantee of council for all criminal cases.Separate Opinions: While there was a unanimous decision in this case, there were a couple notable concurring opinions to this case. Justice Clark believed that the constitution doesn’t change between non-capital and capital cases, and as such all defendants should be provided council. Justice Harlan stated that any serious criminal case should give access to council.Analysis:This case is significant when it relates to criminal defense as a whole. Your simple civilian who does not know about criminal defense will be at a severe disadvantage in a criminal court. Because of the sixth and fourteenth amendment, as well as this case, all criminal defendants will receive equal council.
Especially in a time like this, where there are equality issues being discussed, this case will be imperative.Brief FourMapp v. Ohio 367 US 643, 81 S. Ct. 1684, 6 L. Ed. 2d 1081Facts: Ohio police were looking for the suspect of a different crime. The police had a fake warrant, and entered the Mapp’s home by force.
They then found illegal materials and arrested Mapp.Issue: The issue in this case is whether the evidence that was found during the illegal search is admissible in a court of law.Decision: 6-3 decision in favor of MappReasoning: The Court decided with a majority decision that evidence that is obtained by a violation of the constitution is deemed inadmissible.
• One thing to note in this case is the addition of the exclusionary rule when it pertains to the fourth amendment. This rule removes any evidence that was gained by a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights.Separate Opinions: Justice’s Harlan, Frankfurter, and Whittaker had differing opinions from the majority decision.
Harlan’s opposing opinion talked about the fact that this case was originally about the violation of first amendment rights, and that the court should not have expanded it to discuss the violation of fourth amendment rights.Analysis:This case brought the exclusionary rule into criminal cases, which really helps with the privacy of American citizens. Without the exclusionary rule, law enforcement officers could constantly do illegal searches and charge you for crimes that, with proper privacy, you wouldn’t be charged with.
When I think of this case, I also think of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act calls for the surveillance of communications used by terrorist (phone, email, internet). With the Mapp v.
Ohio ruling, should the Patriot act be allowed? Citations “Gideon v. Wainwright.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell, www.law.
Wainwright.” Oyez, 3 Dec. 2017, www.oyez.org/cases/1962/155.”Mapp v. Ohio.
” Oyez, 3 Dec. 2017, www.oyez.
org/cases/1960/236.”Olmstead v. United States.” Oyez, 3 Dec.
2017, www.oyez.org/cases/1900-1940/277us438.”UNITED STATES v. JONES.” LII / Legal Information Institute, Cornell, www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/10-1259.