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Click here for the full text of this decision As part of a police officer’s community caretaking functions to protect and preserve life and prevent substantial injury, an officer may enter and search a private residence without a warrant for the limited purpose of serving those functions when it is objectively reasonable. FACTS:The court granted discretionary review to determine whether the “community caretaking function” exception to the warrant requirement applies to the warrantless entry and search of a private residence. HOLDING:Affirmed. The state argued in the trial court that the community caretaking exception applied. The trial court found, “There’s no doubt, no question exigent circumstances existed, allowing the officers to enter the trailer to secure the person.” The court of appeals analyzed the case under what it labeled a community caretaking doctrine using the factors set forth in Rohrig. United States v. Rohrig, 98 F.3d 1506 (6th Cir. 1996). This being an emergency doctrine case, however, the proper standards are those set forth by this court regarding the emergency doctrine, and not those set forth by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Rohrig. “We have used an objective standard of reasonableness in determining whether a warrantless search is justified under the Emergency Doctrine.” Brimage v. State, 918 S.W.2d 466 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996) (plurality op. on reh’g)). This objective standard looks at the police officer’s conduct and takes into account the facts and circumstances known to the police at the time of the search. The court looks to ensure that the warrantless search is “strictly circumscribed by the exigencies which justify its initiation.” Mincey v. Arizona, 437 U.S. 385 (1978). If the emergency doctrine applies, the police may seize any evidence that is in plain view during the course of their legitimate emergency activities. “The fact that the protection of the public might, in the abstract, have been accomplished by `less intrusive’ means does not, by itself, render the search unreasonable.” Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973). Although the court disapproves of the court of appeals’ analysis using the Rohrig factors, the court nonetheless agrees with the court’s conclusion that deputy Brian Quiser’s actions in entering the home to ensure the well-being of the young child were reasonable under the circumstances. Quiser’s actions were totally divorced from the detection, investigation or acquisition of evidence relating to the violation of a criminal statute. The appellant already had been detained for suspicion of committing criminal mischief. Quiser did not enter appellant’s trailer to continue his investigation of that offense. Instead, he saw two young boys, not belonging to the appellant, emerge from appellant’s darkened trailer sometime after midnight, and then witnessed one of the boys run back into the trailer. Quiser testified that because the appellant was going to jail, it was his responsibility to get the boy out of the trailer and find out who his parents were. Arguably, the deputies would have been criminally liable for leaving the child behind. Under the circumstances, deputy Quiser’s actions were reasonable. More important to the emergency doctrine’s application, there was an immediate, objectively reasonable belief on deputy Quiser’s part that he needed to act to protect the life of the child and prevent him from incurring serious injury. Although there was no immediate threat to the child’s safety or well-being, had the boy been left alone in the trailer while deputies took appellant away, there would have been a substantial risk of harm to the child. Furthermore, deputy Quiser’s search was strictly circumscribed by the exigencies which justified its initiation. After the boy ran back in the trailer, Quiser called out for him but there was no response. Quiser then proceeded directly to where he was told the boy was the back bedroom. When he found the boy there, he also saw the pornographic photos in plain view. Rather than expand his search for pornographic material, he immediately took the child out of the room. Based on these circumstances, the court finds that the emergency doctrine applies. Accordingly, the deputies were not required to secure a warrant to enter and search the appellant’s residence. The court does not intend this holding to be interpreted to necessarily allow police officers to make warrantless entries and searches every time there is a need to protect or preserve life or prevent serious injury. Instead, the courts should carefully apply the objective standard of reasonableness when determining whether an officer’s warrantless entry and search is justified under the emergency doctrine. OPINION:Hervey, J.; Keller, PJ., Womack, Keasler, Holcomb and Cochran, JJ., join. CONCURRENCE:Meyers, J.; Price, J., joins. “The trial court in this case found that appellant consented to the search of his trailer. The Court of Appeals upheld the finding that appellant’s consent to search was freely and voluntarily given. Laney v. State, 76 S.W.3d 524, 533 (Tex. App. � 14th Dist., Houston 2002). Appellant did not contest that finding on petition for discretionary review, and did not argue that the consent was in any way tainted by the prior search. “Because the issue was not argued before this Court, we have no occasion to consider it. Therefore, although I object to the uncalled-for extension of the community caretaking doctrine, I must concur with the majority’s decision to affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals.” CONCURRENCE:Womack, J. “In the courts below the appellant cited both federal and state constitutions, but he did not contend that they impose different requirements as to warrants, and the court of appeals did not consider whether they do. Therefore there is no occasion for us to do so.” CONCURRENCE:Johnson, J. “It was not unreasonable for the officers to believe that it was important to retrieve the second boy from appellant’s home. “I am troubled, however, by the second warrantless and unconsented-to entry. Whether the officers touched anything during the entry is not the issue. The boys were safe, and no other emergency existed. There was no legal justification for the second entry. The opinion of the Court should not be read to condone such improper entries and searches.”

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