McClintock v. Texas

Appellant Bradley McClintock lived in an upstairs residence above a business. Access to his residence could be gained through a stairway at the back of the building. Police took a drug-sniffing dog to Appellant’s door, where the dog alerted to the presence of drugs. This fact was included in a warrant affidavit upon which a warrant to search the residence issued. Charged with possession of a felony amount of marijuana, Appellant filed a motion to suppress the contraband, contending that it had been obtained under a search warrant that was not supported by probable cause. Specifically, he argued that the police had conducted an illegal search at the door to his apartment using a drug-sniffing dog, and then incorporated that ill-gotten information into the search warrant affidavit. The trial court denied the motion, expressly holding that the police dog had not invaded the curtilage of Appellant’s home at the time it alerted to the presence of contraband, and that the use of a drug dog therefore did not constitute a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. Appellant then pled guilty to a reduced charge, preserving his right to appeal the adverse ruling on his motion to suppress The issue this case presented for the Court of Criminal Appeals’ review centered on the proper construction of Article 38.23(b) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the statutory good-faith exception to the statutory exclusionary rule. The Court reviewed this case once before on discretionary review. At that time, the Court remanded it to the court of appeals to allow that court to address, in the first instance, whether the United States Supreme Court’s recent interpretation of the court-made good-faith exception to the federal exclusionary rule in “Davis v. United States,” (564 U.S. 229 (2011)), should have any application in the construction of Texas’ statutory good-faith exception to Texas’ statutory exclusionary rule. The court of appeals issued its opinion; the State again petitioned court for discretionary review, which was granted. The Court of Criminal Appeals held the trial court did not err to overrule Appellant’s motion to suppress. The judgment of the court of appeals was reversed and the judgment of the trial court was affirmed. View "McClintock v. Texas" on Justia Law