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The Supreme Court has stated frequently that the exclusionary rule is principally designed to deter violations of the Fourth Amendment. See, e. g., United States v. Leon, 468 U.S. 897, 906 (1984); Elkins v. United States, 364 U.S. 206, 217 (1960). By excluding evidence discovered in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the rule 'compel[s] respect for the constitutional guaranty in the only effectively available way, by removing the incentive to disregard it.' Id., at 217. The Court has crafted exceptions to the exclusionary rule when the purposes of the rule are not furthered by the exclusion. As the Court recognizes, the independent source exception to the exclusionary rule 'allows admission of evidence that has been discovered by means wholly independent of any constitutional violation.' Nix v. Williams, 467 U.S. 431, 443 (1984); see Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U.S. 385, 392 (1920).


The independent source exception, like the inevitable discovery exception, is primarily based on a practical view that under certain circumstances the beneficial deterrent effect that exclusion will have on future constitutional violations is too slight to justify the social cost of excluding probative evidence from a criminal trial. See Nix ...

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