Dropsy Testimony Law and Legal Definition

Dropsy testimony refers to a false testimony given by a police officer that a fleeing suspect dropped an illegal substance which was then confiscated by the police and used as probable cause for arresting the suspect. Dropsy testimony is sometimes given when an arrest has been made without probable cause, as when illegal substances have been found through an improper search.

In Mapp v. Ohio, 367 U.S. 643, (U.S. 1961), the Supreme Court held that the federal exclusionary rule in search and seizure cases was binding on the states. The exclusionary rule suppresses at trial evidence that was illegally obtained usually in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Police officers have been fabricating grounds of arrest in narcotics cases in order to circumvent the requirements of Mapp. Such lies came to be known as “dropsy” testimony since the police testified that those charged with drug possession were now dropping illicit drugs on the ground rather than keeping them where they were. Prior to Mapp, evidence obtained from unlawful searches of the person was admissible, even when illegally obtained.