Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 January 2022
Crminal law cases in the Court typically arose out of the enforcement of Prohibition and mostly dealt with issues about searches, though the Court did issue one important decision on the general part of criminal law delineating the scope of the entrapment or government misconduct defense. With Prohibition discredited and repealed early in the decade, the Court’s decisions ordinarily found that the searches at issue were unlawful. Prohibition led to the rise of organized crime, and some of the Court’s decisions addressed and usually allowed legal strategies aimed at organized crime, although one important decision struck down a New Jersey statute penalizing membership in criminal gangs. The decisions sometimes led the Court to consider how the law should respond to technological innovations -- airplanes for one, but wiretapping a more important one. One theme surfaced on occasion: the importance of porfessionalism in the administration of criminal justice.