Washington Law Review


Answering a complaint, an inspector from the Baltimore health department searched defendant's neighborhood. After finding evidence behind defendant's home that suggested rats were inside, the inspector requested entry of defendant, which was refused. The inspector left and returned the next day for further exterior examination of the home but, not finding defendant there, again made no entry. Within a few days defendant was arrested, tried by a magistrate, convicted, and fined twenty dollars for violation of a Baltimore health ordinance requiring householders to admit health inspectors. The Baltimore Criminal Court affirmed the conviction, the Maryland Supreme Court denied certiorari, and defendant brought the case to the United States Supreme Court on certiorari. The issue, never before decided by the Supreme Court, was whether Maryland could, consistently with the due process clause of the Constitution, require dwellers of private homes to admit health inspectors without search warrants. In an opinion by Justice Frankfurter, the Court held such requirement constitutional.

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