The Neglected History of Criminal Procedure, 1850-1940

53 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2009 Last revised: 2 Nov 2009

Date Written: August 28, 2009


Originalism has focused the attention of courts and academics on Framing Era history to interpret constitutional limits on police conduct. Previously unexplored sources reveal, however, that Framing Era limits on officers were expressly abandoned as professional police forces were created in the mid-nineteenth century and charged with aggressively investigating and preventing crime. The modern scheme of judicially supervised police investigations was then implemented after corruption and scandals of the 1920s. The development of modern criminal procedure has a rich historical background, but it has almost nothing to do with the events of the Framing Era.

Keywords: criminal procedure, history, search and seizure, interrogations, wiretapping, Prohibition, originalism

Suggested Citation

Oliver, Wesley, The Neglected History of Criminal Procedure, 1850-1940 (August 28, 2009). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-26, Available at SSRN: or

Wesley Oliver (Contact Author)

Duquesne Law School ( email )

600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics