Albert Adams v. People of the State of New York

Decision Date23 February 1904
Docket NumberNo. 504,504
Citation24 S.Ct. 372,192 U.S. 585,48 L.Ed. 575
PartiesALBERT J. ADAMS, Plff. in Err. , v. PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

This is a writ of error to the supreme court of the state of New York. The plaintiff in error at the April term, 1903, of the supreme court of the state of New York, was tried before one of the justices of that court and a jury, and convicted of the crime of having in his possession, knowingly, certain gambling paraphernalia used in the game commonly known as policy, in violation of § 344a of the Penal Code of the state of New York. This section and the one following, § 344b, relating to the offense in question, are as follows:

Sec. 344a. Keeping Place to Play Policy—'A person who keeps, occupies, or uses, or permits to be kept, occupied, or used, a place, building, room, table, establishment, or apparatus for policy playing, or for the sale of what are commonly called 'lottery policies,' or who delivers or receives money or other valuable consideration in playing policy, or in aiding in the playing thereof, or for what is commonly called a 'lottery policy,' or for any writing, paper, or document in the nature of a bet, wager, or insurance upon the drawing or drawn numbers of any public or private lottery; or who shall have in his possession, knowingly, any writing, paper, or document, representing or being a record of any chance, share, or interest in numbers sold, drawn, or to be drawn, or in what is commonly called 'policy,' or in the nature of a bet, wager, or insurance, upon the drawing or drawn numbers of any public or private lottery, or any paper, print, writing, numbers, device, policy slip, or article of any kind such as is commonly used in carrying on, promoting, or playing the game commonly called 'policy;' or who is the owner, agent, superintendent, janitor, or caretaker of any place, building, or room where policy play- ing or the sale of what are commonly called 'lottery policies' is carried on with his knowledge, or, after notification that the premises are so used, permits such use to be continued, or who aids, assists, or abets in any manner, in any of the offenses, acts, or matters herein named, is a common gambler and punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years, and in the discretion of the court, by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or both.'

Sec. 344b. Possession of Policy Slip, etc., Presumptive Evidence.—'The possession, by any person other than a public officer, of any writing, paper, or document representing or being a record of any chance, share, or interest in numbers sold, drawn, or to be drawn, or in what is commonly called 'policy,' or in the nature of a bet, wager, or insurance upon the drawing or drawn numbers of any public or private lottery, or any paper, print, writing, numbers, or device, policy slip, or article of any kind, such as is commonly used in carrying on, promoting, or playing the game commonly called 'policy,' is presumptive evidence of possession thereof knowingly and in violation of the provisions of § 344.

The assignments of error in this court are:

'First. That the court erred in holding that by the reception in evidence of the defendant's private papers seized in the raid of his premises, against his protest and without his consent, which had no relation whatsoever to the game of policy, for the possession of papers used in connection with which said game he was convicted, his constitutional right to be secure in his person, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures was not violated, and that he was also thereby not compelled to be a witness against himself, in contravention of the 4th, 5th, and 14th Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

'Second. That the court erred in holding that the statute, §§ 344a, 344b, of the Penal Code of the state of New York, under which the indictment against the plaintiff in error was found, and his conviction was had, did not deprive him of rights, privileges, and immunities secured to other citizens of the United States and of said state of New York, nor of liberty or property, without due process of law, nor of the equal protection of the laws, in violation of § 1 of the 14th Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

'Third. That the court erred in affirming the judgment of conviction, and in refusing to discharge the plaintiff in error from custody.'

The game of policy referred to in the sections of the statute quoted is a lottery scheme carried on, as shown in the testimony, by means of certain numbers procured at the shop or place where the game is played, and consists in an attempt to guess whether one or more of the series held by the player will be included in a list of twelve or at times thirteen of the numbers between one and seventy-eight, which are supposed to be drawn daily at the headquarters of the operators of the game. A person desiring to play the game causes the numbers to be entered on series of slips or manifold sheets. One of these pieces of paper containing the combination played by the person entering the game is kept by him and is known as a policy slip. Drawings are held twice a day, and the holder of the successful combination receives the money which goes to the winner of the game. About 3,500 of these slips were found in the office occupied by the plaintiff in error, which was searched by certain police officers holding a search warrant. The officers took not only the policy slips, but certain other papers, which were received in evidence against the plaintiff in error at the trial, against his objection, for the purpose of identifying certain handwriting of the defendant upon the slips, and also to show that the papers belonged to the defendant, and were in the same custody as the policy slips.

So far as the case presents a Federal question, the court of appeals of the state of New York held (176 N. Y. 351, 68 N. E. 636) that the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States do not contain limitations upon the power of the states, and proceeded to examine the case in the light of similar provisions in the Constitution and Bill of Rights of that state.

Messrs. L. Laflin Kellogg and Alfred C. Pett e for plaintiff in error.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 589-591 intentionally omitted] Messrs. Howard S. Gans and William Travers Jerome for defendant in error.

Mr. Justice Day delivered the opinion of the court:

[Argument of Counsel from pages 591-594 intentionally omitted] We do not feel called upon to discuss the contention that the 14th Amendment has made the provisions of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, so far as they relate to the right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures and protect them against being compelled to testify in a criminal case against themselves, privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States of which they may not be deprived by the action of the states. An examination of this record convinces us that there has been no violation of these constitutional restrictions, either in an unreasonable search or seizure, or in compelling the plaintiff in error to testify against himself.

No objection was taken at the trial to the introduction of the testimony of the officers holding the search warrant as to the seizure of the policy slips; the objection raised was to receiving in evidence certain private papers. These papers became important as tending to show the custody by the plaintiff in error, with knowledge, of the policy slips. The question was not made in the attempt to resist an unlawful seizure of the private papers of the plaintiff in error, but arose upon objection to the introduction of testimony clearly competent as tending to establish the guilt of the accused of the offense charged. In such cases the weight of authority as well as reason limits the inquiry to the competency of the proffered testimony, and the courts do not stop to inquire as to the means by which the evidence was obtained. The rule is thus laid down in Greenleaf (vol. 1, § 254a):

'It may be mentioned in this place that though papers and other subjects of evidence may have been illegally taken from the possession of the party against whom they are offered, or otherwise unlawfully obtained, this is no valid objection to their admissibility if they are pertinent to the issue. The court will not take notice how they were obtained, whether lawfully or unlawfully, nor will it form an issue to determine that question.'

The author is supported by numerous cases. Of them, perhaps, the leading one is Com. v. Dana, 2 Met. 329, in which the opinion was given by Mr. Justice Wilde, in the course of which he said:

'There is another conclusive answer to all these objections. Admitting that the lottery tickets and materials were illegally seized, still this is no legal objection to the admission of them in evidence. If the search warrant were illegal, or if the officer serving the warrant exceeded his authority, the party on whose complaint the warrant issued, or the officer, would be responsible for the wrong done; but this is no good reason for excluding the papers seized as evidence if they were pertinent to the issue, as they unquestionably were. When papers are offered in evidence the court can take no notice how they were obtained, whether lawfully or unlawfully; nor...

To continue reading

Request your trial
401 cases
  • State v. Novembrino
    • United States
    • New Jersey Supreme Court
    • 7 Enero 1987
    ...not seek the return of the seized evidence before trial, effectively overruling the Court's earlier decision in Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585, 24 S.Ct. 372, 48 L.Ed. 575 (1904). It was not until 1949, in Wolf v. Colorado, 338 U.S. 25, 69 S.Ct. 1359, 93 L.Ed. 1782, that the Court was calle......
  • State v. McCollum
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 16 Marzo 1943
    ... ... They were mindful of ... the fact that a free people too soon forget the fathers' ... sacrifices which made the heritage ... United ... States, supra; Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585, 24 ... S.Ct. 372, 48 L.Ed. 575, [see, ... ...
  • State v. Tonn
    • United States
    • Iowa Supreme Court
    • 16 Enero 1923
    ...and particularly by Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585 (48 L.Ed. 575, 24 S.Ct. 372). But Mr. Justice Day, who wrote the opinion in both the Adams and Weeks cases, says in the latter case that the Boyd case had been frequently cited by that court, and that there was no wish to detract from its ......
  • Moore v. State
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • 6 Abril 1925
    ...328; (1903). People v. Adams, 68 N.E. 636, 176 N.Y. 351; 63 L. R. A. 406, (Leading Case); Affirmed by U. S. Supreme Court, (1904) 192 U.S. 585, 48 L.Ed. 575; (1922). People v. Diamond, 233 N.Y. 23. NEVADA. (1924). State v. Chin Gim, 224 P. 798. 24. NORTH CAROLINA. (Oct. 1924). State v. Gode......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
4 books & journal articles
  • The Supreme Court giveth and the Supreme Court taketh away: the century of Fourth Amendment "search and seizure" doctrine.
    • United States
    • Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Vol. 100 No. 3, June 2010
    • 22 Junio 2010
    ...matter, allowed a business that was the target of an investigation to exercise a degree of control over disclosure of its records. (101) 192 U.S. 585 (102) Id. at 595. (103) The logic of exclusion was essentially the same logic of legal nullity that the Supreme Court announced in Marbury v.......
  • CHAPTER 6 LIMITING ACCESS TO FEDERAL REVIEW
    • United States
    • Carolina Academic Press Federal Habeas Corpus: Cases and Materials (CAP)
    • Invalid date
    ...there existed no barrier to the introduction in criminal trials of evidence obtained in violation of the Amendment. See Adams v. New York, 192 U.S. 585 (1904). In Weeks the Court held that the defendant could petition before trial for the return of property secured through an illegal search......
  • The Dunkin' Donuts gap: rethinking the exclusionary rule as a remedy in constitutional criminal procedure.
    • United States
    • American Criminal Law Review Vol. 47 No. 3, June 2010
    • 22 Junio 2010
    ...(22.) 116 U.S. 616 (1886). (23.) Id. at 634-35. (24.) Id. at 635. (25.) 168 U.S. 532 (1897) (26.) Id. at 549-65. (27.) Id. at 548. (28.) 192 U.S. 585 (29.) Id. at 594-95. (30.) See id. at 595-98. (31.) 91 N.W. 935 (Iowa 1902). (32.) Id. at 935-36. (33.) Id. at 940. (34.) See id. at 936-40. ......
  • The Supreme Court as Protector of Civil Rights: Criminal Justice
    • United States
    • ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, The No. 275-1, May 1951
    • 1 Mayo 1951
    ...338 U. S. 160 (1949)—Jackson, Frankfurter, D. Thacher ! Murphy, JJ., dissenting. On the other hand, 33 As in Adams v. New York, 192 U. S. 585 a taking by trickery is unlawful: Gouled United States, 255 U. S. 298 (1921). 90 warrant may properly be made as an through a wall). 45 However......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT