CourtSpeak: Boyd v. United States Privacy Case (1886)

Criminal Justice Read more from
Chapter The Waite Court (1874–88)

Justice Joseph Bradley (unanimous): “We have already noticed the intimate relation between the two amendments. They throw great light on each other. For the ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’ condemned in the fourth amendment are almost always made for the purpose of compelling a man to give evidence against himself, which in criminal cases is condemned in the fifth amendment; and compelling a man ‘in a criminal case to be a witness against himself,’ which is condemned in the fifth amendment, throws light on the question as to what is an ‘unreasonable search and seizure’ within the meaning of the fourth amendment. And we have been unable to perceive that the seizure of a man’s private books and papers to be used in evidence against him is substantially different from compelling him to be a witness against himself. We think it is within the clear intent and meaning of those terms.”


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