Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Sgt. Scott Wilson, an undercover officer for the Texas Attorney General’s Special Crimes Unit conducted an investigation into illegal gambling operations at appellant’s business establishment, Train’s, which is located in a rural area of Henderson County. Wilson drafted a lengthy and thorough affidavit and search warrant which authorized a search of the Train’s premises as well as appellant’s arrest. Other police officers executed this warrant, and they searched not only the business establishment of Train’s, but also another train car located in the same vicinity, and appellant’s home which was a nearby red caboose. At trial appellant objected to the admission of any items seized from her home because the search warrant authorized a search only of Train’s. She claimed that the search of her home without either a warrant or exigent circumstances violated her Fourth Amendment rights. After hearing arguments, the trial court agreed with appellant and sustained her objection. At the state’s behest, however, the trial court changed its mind the next morning and allowed the admission of all items taken from appellant’s home, including $1,200 in cash found underneath the mattress of her bed. The jury convicted appellant. The court of appeals concluded that the search warrant was properly construed as authorizing a search of the red caboose. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The affidavit begins with this description: “1. THERE IS IN SEVEN POINTS, HENDERSON COUNTY, TEXAS, A SUSPECTED PLACE AND PREMISES DESCRIBED AND LOCATED AS FOLLOWS: An unnamed business establishment known locally as Train’s is located at 1075 Pritchett Lane, Seven Points, Henderson County, Texas. The structure is a silver in color passenger train car. The passenger train car is located north, 8/10 of a mile from State Highway 334 on the west side of Pritchett Lane, Seven Points, Henderson County, Texas. In front of this silver in color passenger train car is a black mail box located on the west side of Pritchett Lane with the numbers”1075′. This is the only silver in color passenger train car located on Pritchett Lane 8/10 of a mile north of State Highway 334, Seven Points, Henderson County, Texas.” The court concludes that the specific description of the business premises to be searched the silver railroad passenger car did not, as a matter of law or logic, implicitly include authorization to search appellant’s home-the separate little red caboose. The court concludes that the trial court should have stayed with its original, correct ruling excluding the evidence obtained from this unlawful search of appellant’s home. OPINION:Cochran, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Meyers, Price, Womack, Johnson and Holcomb, JJ., joined. Keasler, J., filed a dissenting opinion in which Keller, P.J., and Hervey, J., joined. DISSENT:Keasler, J.; Keller, P.J., and Hervey, J., join. “I respectfully dissent. The majority’s opinion focuses solely on the fact that the red caboose, which Long used as a residence, was not specifically described in the affidavit. But the majority turns a blind eye to our own jurisprudence and that of federal law that the description of a structure in an affidavit does not limit a search only to that structure when the ‘place and premises’ language is used. We recognized that distinction in Comeaux v. State, where we said that when an affidavit uses the language ‘place and premises,’ it may authorize a search of other buildings on the property even if the affidavit specifically describes the property to be searched. Other courts hold that when a warrant contains the ‘premises’ language followed by a physical description of the structure to be searched, the specific reference is generally found to be for the purpose of more fully identifying those premises, not for the purpose of restricting the area to be searched. And the Supreme Court of the United States has held that ‘a lawful search of a fixed premises generally extends to the entire area in which the object of the search may be found.’ “

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.