McDonald v. United States
335 U.S. 451 (1948)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

McDonald v. United States, 335 U.S. 451 (1948)

McDonald v. United States

No. 36

Argued October 13, 1948

Decided December 13, 1948

335 U.S. 451


Suspecting that petitioner McDonald was operating an illegal lottery, police had kept him under surveillance for two months. Thinking that they detected from the outside the sound of an adding machine, they forced their way, without a warrant for search or arrest, into a rooming house in which he had rented a room. They proceeded to his room, looked through the transom, and observed petitioners McDonald and Washington engaged in operating a lottery. Demanding and obtaining entrance, they arrested both petitioners and seized machines, papers and money which were in plain view. These articles were admitted in evidence over the objection of petitioners, who were convicted.


1. The seizure was in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the seized articles were not admissible in evidence against McDonald, and his conviction cannot be sustained. Pp. 335 U. S. 452-456.

2. A search without a warrant is not justified unless the exigencies of the situation make that course imperative. Pp. 335 U. S. 454-456.

3. Even if it be assumed that Washington's constitutional rights were not invaded, the denial of McDonald's motion to exclude the evidence was, on these facts, prejudicial to Washington as well as to McDonald. P. 335 U. S. 456

Page 335 U. S. 452

83 U.S.App.D.C. 96,166 F.2d 957, reversed.

Petitioners were convicted in a federal district court on evidence obtained by a search without a warrant. The Court of Appeals affirmed. 83 U.S.App.D.C. 96, 166 F.2d 957. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 872. Reversed, p. 335 U. S. 456.

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.