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The Supreme Court used to make distinctions between seizure of items of evidential value only and seizure of instrumentalities, fruits, or contraband. It rejected that distinction in Warden v. Hayden 387 U.S. 294 (1967). The distinction based on those premises is no longer accepted as rules governing the application of the Fourth Amendment. The purpose of the Fourth Amendment. was a reaction to the evils of the use of the general warrant in England and the writs of assistance in the Colonies, and was intended to protect against invasions of 'the sanctity of a man's home and the privacies of life,' Boyd v. United States, 116 U.S. 616, 630, from searches under indiscriminate, general authority. Protection of these interests was assured by prohibiting all 'unreasonable' searches and seizures, and by requiring the use of warrants, which particularly describe 'the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,' thereby interposing 'a magistrate between the citizen and the police,' McDonald v. United States, supra, 335 U.S., at 455.


Nothing in the language of the Fourth Amendment supports the distinction between 'mere evidence' and instrumentalities, fruits of crime, or contraband. On its face, the ...

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