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Wolf v. Colorado

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Criminal Procedure keyed to Israel

Citation. Wolf v. Colo., 338 U.S. 25, 69 S. Ct. 1359, 93 L. Ed. 1782, 1949 U.S. LEXIS 2079 (U.S. June 27, 1949)

Brief Fact Summary. The petitioner, Julius Wolf (the “petitioner”ť) was convicted by a State court of conspiring to commit abortions based upon evidence allegedly obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s search and seizure clause. Yes. The informant’s past reliability, accurate description of the Petitioner’s clothing, bag, and date of arrival gave the agent probable cause to arrest the Petitioner without a warrant.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause does not prohibit the admission of evidence obtained during an apparently illegal search and seizure in State courts. Yes. Hearsay is an evidentiary rule dealing with guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Excluding facts that are hearsay from probable cause confuses the common sense standard of probable cause from the technical, legal standards of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Facts. The petitioner was convicted of conspiring to commit abortions in a State court and appealed. He alleged that his Fourth Amendment constitutional right to be free from illegal searches and seizures had been violated and that any evidence obtained as a result of the illegal search and seizure should have been excluded from trial as a matter of due process. The conviction was affirmed by the Colorado Supreme Court, and certiorari was granted by the United States Supreme Court (“Supreme Court”ť).

Issue. Whether a State court conviction for a State offense denies due process protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution because evidence that would have been excluded in a federal court under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution (“Constitution”ť) was admitted? A tip from a reliable informant, which is corroborated by predicting facts unknowable to a stranger, gives rise to probable cause.

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