General Histories | Ancient History | 1800-1850 | 1860
| 1870 | 1880
The New York Times March 4, 1950
ILLEGAL SEARCHES ASSAILED BY COURT
Special Sessions Justice Frank Oliver criticized policemen and district
attorneys throughout the state yesterday for failure to obtain warrants before entering
and searching the homes of suspects.
The Justice spoke from the bench in the Bronx as a convicted man was sentenced to four months in the workhouse.
Sitting on the bench with him were Justices Myles A. Paige and Bernard A. Kozicke. They were passing sentence of Frank Hutchinson, 35 years old, 675 Union Avenue, the Bronx, who had been convicted of possessing narcotics.
Hutchinson and his wife, Willie Mae, were arrested on Oct. 20, when the police of the narcotics division found six marijuana cigarettes, about thirty grams of marijuana and a cigarette-making apparatus. Mrs. Hutchinson was acquitted at their trial.
In criticizing the tactics of the police, Justice Oliver made it clear that his words were aimed not at the arresting officers, but against the police chiefs and district attorneys who instruct them.
"The search and seizure clause of the State Constitution is dead," he said. "The police have abandoned the use of warrants entirely. Our district attorneys and police chiefs throughout the state never punish these officers for this practice, but direct them to proceed without warrants.
"It has reduced the judiciary to a subordinate position. We have become janitors
of police stations instead of protectors of the civil liberties of the people. We have
also become the ratifying agents for the rough-house tactics of policemen, instead of
instructors on the rights of the public."
He termed these practices of the police a "disgrace" to the whole state.
"The oath taken by public officials to defend and uphold the constitution is betrayed by these same officials who are elected by our people," he added.