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Case Basics
Docket No. 
(Argued the cause for the National District Attorneys' Association, as amicus curiae, urging affirmance)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Facts of the Case 

Victor Linkletter was convicted in state court on evidence illegally obtained by police prior to the Supreme Court decision concerning the Fourth Amendment in Mapp v. Ohio. Mapp applied the exclusionary rule to state criminal proceedings, denying the use of illegally obtained evidence at trial. Linkletter argued for a retrial based on the Mapp decision.


Did the exclusionary rule established in Mapp v. Ohio apply retroactively?

Decision: 7 votes for Walker, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Exclusionary Rule (admissibility of evidence allegedly in violation of the Fourth Amendment)

In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that the Constitution neither prohibited nor required "an absolute rule of retroaction." Only a case-by-case examination of the rules in question was required. The Court reasoned that police misconduct prior to Mapp had already occurred and would not be corrected by releasing the prisoners involved. The Court also argued that applying the Mapp decision retroactively to all cases would threaten the "delicate state-federal relationship" and would "tax the administration of justice to the utmost." Only cases on direct review at the time of the Mapp ruling or later cases would be subject to retroactive consideration.

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LINKLETTER v. WALKER. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <>.
LINKLETTER v. WALKER, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited August 26, 2015).
"LINKLETTER v. WALKER," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015,