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opening of letters and sealed packages under this clause; nor will the order of the Postmaster General issued without warrant justify the seizure by a postmaster of letters and sealed packages.2 In Ex parte Jackson 38 it was held: "Letters and sealed packages in the mail are as fully guarded from examination and inspection, except as to their outward form and weight, as if they were retained by the parties forwarding them in their own domiciles. The constitutional guaranty of the right of the people to be secure in their papers against unreasonable searches and seizures extends to their papers, thus closed against inspection, wherever they may be. Whilst in the mail, they can only be opened, and examined under like war. rant, issued upon similar oath or affirmation, particularly describing the thing to be seized, as is required when the papers are subjected to search in one's own household. No law of Congress can place in the hands of officials connected with the postal service any authority to invade the secrecy of letters and such sealed packages in the mail; and all regulations adopted as to mail matter of this kind must be in subordination to the great principle embodied in the fourth amendment to the Constitution.'
When the production of books and papers violates the clause.-In Boyd v. United States,84 it was held :
"An act of Congress which requires a party to produce his private books and papers, and if he refuses to do so upon demand, permits the Government to assume as true its allegations as to the contents of said books and papers, is unconstitutional as being in conflict with the fourth amendment."
When it does not.-In United States v. Three Tons of Coal,35 the court said: "It is no infringement upon the personal or constitutional rights of distillers to require that books and papers used and kept by them in their business shall be produced for inspection by the attorneys for the Government. Such books and papers are not such private property as exempts them from search and seizure, nor are they protected by the rules against obtaining them to be used as evidence.' This decision seems to be based upon the ground that the Government really had an interest in such business as affects the public revenues.
82 Hoover v. McChesney, 81 Fed. Rep., 472–483. 33 96 U, S. 727, 733. 84 116 U. S., 616. 85 6 Biss., 379.
What charges are not sufficient to justify arrest.-A communication of the British minister charging that a master of an American vessel had murdered a British subject on the high seas, together with copies of depositions taken before a justice of the peace of the Island of Antigua, is not sufficient evidence to authorize the President to order the arrest of the accused and confinement for trial.36 But had the original papers been produced and the official character of the magistrate before whom they were taken been certified by the Governor of the island on which the murder occurred, it would have been sufficient.37
The President cannot order an arrest by proclamation or instructions to marshals. Such proclamation or instructions would in effect be a warrant to arrest and either of them would be a violation of the fourth article of amendment to the Constitution.38
But the President may issue the order for arrest for one who has escaped after being regularly arrested, because the regularity of the arrest implies that the probable cause has been furnished on oath or affidavit, and that the warrant was duly issued.39
When a proper case is made out a warrant may issue to search the person of an individual as well as his dwelling place.40
A person cannot be arrested as being a suspicious person.-It was held in Stoutenburgh v. Frazier, that an act of Congress declaring that "all suspicious persons might be arrested and prosecuted as criminals, and, upon conviction, be fined and imprisoned, violated the fourth amendment to the Constitution. In this case Alvey, C. J., distinguishes between a suspicious character and a suspicious person. In Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken Land Co.,42 it was de38 2 Opinions of Att'y Gen., 266. 87 Ibid. 38 1 Opinions of Attorneys General, 230. 39 Ibid., 230. 40 Collins v. Lane, 68 Cal., 288. 41 16 D. C. App. Cases, 229. 42 18 Howard, 272.
cided (p. 285): The fourth article of amendment to the Constitution has no reference to civil proceedings for the recovery of debts, of which a search warrant is not made part.
How far may congressional committees invade the private affairs of citizens ?-In In re Chapman,“ this question was considered and the
considered and the court said: Questions which did not seek to ascertain any facts as to the conduct, methods, extent, or details of the business of the firm in question, but only whether a firm, confessedly engaged in buying and selling stocks, and the particular stock named, was employed by any Senator to buy or sell for him any of their stock, whose market price might be affected by the Senate's action, were competent. These questions cannot be regarded as amounting to an unreasonable search into the private affairs of the witness simply because he may have been connected with the alleged transaction, and the power to ask such questions is within the constitutional power of legislative committees.
Testimony taken by the Interstate Commerce Commission.-In Interstate Commerce Commission v. Baird^4 it was held:
“The inquiry of a board of the character of the Interstate Commerce Commission should not be too narrowly constrained by technical rules as to the admissibility of proof. Its function is largely one of investigation, and should not be hampered in making inquiry pertaining to interstate commerce by those narrow rules which prevail in trials at common law where a strict correspondence is required between allegation and proof."
In this case it appeared that certain coal companies which had organized to construct an independent line to the ocean subsequently made contracts with certain railroads for the purchase of collieries. This resulted in the construction of the independent line being abandoned. It was held that these contracts were competent, and their production was not an infringement of the fourth amendment.
Evidence may be used in a case though obtained in an irregular way.-This phase of the subject was considered in Adams v. New York,45 and the language of Mr. Justice Day in passing on it was :
43 166 U. S., 661, 669. 44 194 U. S., 25, 44.
“The contention is that, if in the search for instruments of crime, other papers are taken, the same may not be given in evidence. As an illustration, if a search warrant is issued for stolen property, and burglars' tools be discovered and seized, they are to be excluded from testimony by force of these amendments. We think they were never intended to have that effect, but were rather designed to protect against compulsory testimony from a defendant against himself in a criminal trial, and to punish wrongful invasion of the home of the citizen or the unwarranted seizure of his papers and property."
Aliens entitled to the benefit of this amendment.-In United States v. Wong Quong Wongte it was held :
“Aliens while in this country are entitled to the benefit of constitutional guaranty, which are not confined to citizens, as affecting liberty or property."
It was also held that the fourth amendment was applicable to the following facts: The defendant was a Chinaman, who gave letters written in Chinese to an employe of the government, who in turn gave them to customs officials, who opened, read and kept the letters, and they were offered in evidence. The court said:
“The opening of the envelopes, and taking these letters from them, was a seizure of papers of the appellants that was unreasonable and contrary to the spirit of the fourth amendment, and such papers, procured in that way, cannot be used in evidence against persons from whom they are procured without violating the protection afforded by the amendment to all persons in this country. It has been said that the manner of obtaining such evidence, whether by force or fraud, does not affect its admissibility; but these constitutional safeguards would be deprived of a large part of their value if they could be invoked only for preventing the obtaining of such evidence, and not for protection against its use.'
Congress cannot deprive a person of his right of action under this amendment.-Congress passed an act that “any order of the President, or under his authority, made at any time during the existence of the rebellion shall be a defense in all the courts to any action or prosecution, civil or criminal, for any search, seizure, arrest, or imprisonment done under color of any law of Congress," etc. In Griffin v. Wilcox48 the court held this was a violation of the amendment securing the people against unreasonable searches and seizures.
45 192 U, S., 585, 598. 46 94 Fed. Rep., 834. 47 Ibid., 833-834,