The criminal goes free, if he must, but it is the law that sets him free. Nothing can
destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws, or worse, its
disregard of the charter of its own existence.
Justice Tom C. Clark, Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643
Dollree Mapp, also known as Dolly, was an African American woman who lived alone with her twelve-year-old daughter on the second floor of a two-story brick house in the Shaker Heights section of Cleveland, Ohio. Shaker Heights was one of the earliest successfully integrated communities in which blacks and whites lived harmoniously together. Mapp made extra money by subletting other rooms in the house.
She was divorced from heavyweight boxer Jimmy Bivens. In 1956, Mapp claimed that heavyweight boxing championship contender Archie Moore jilted her. She was twenty-eight at the time and was described by those who knew her as a “head turner.” She filed a lawsuit against Moore, charging him with breach of promise to marry her and raping her minor daughter. The suit was filed in Chicago, where, at the time, Moore was training for his championship fight against Floyd Patterson. A federal district court judge threw Mapp’s suit out on jurisdictional grounds because neither Mapp nor Moore resided in Chicago.1 One year later, Mapp was involved in more serious trouble.