Weeks v. United States case brief
232 U.S. 383 (1914).
Facts of the Case
Police entered the home of Fremont Weeks and seized papers which were used to convict him of transporting lottery tickets through the mail. This was done without a search warrant. Weeks took action against the police and petitioned for the return of his private possessions.
Did the search and seizure of Weeks' home violate the Fourth Amendment?
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the seizure of items from Weeks' residence directly violated his constitutional rights. The Court also held that the government's refusal to return Weeks' possessions violated the Fourth Amendment. To allow private documents to be seized and then held as evidence against citizens would have meant that the protection of the Fourth Amendment declaring the right to be secure against such searches and seizures would be of no value whatsoever. This was the first application of what eventually became known as the "exclusionary rule."
Evidence obtained in an unlawful search and seizure by agents of the federal government may not be used against the defendant in a federal prosecution.