Texas v. Ford

Appellee Kimberly Ford was indicted for possession of methamphetamine. The drugs were seized from her purse at a Dollar General store during a theft investigation. The investigating officer informed appellee that she had been seen concealing items in her purse. Appellee responded that she had put items in her purse, but she was not done shopping, and she was going to pay for the items before she left. The officer noticed that appellee had a shopping cart and that there were items from the store in the cart that were not in her purse. The purse was in the child seat of the shopping cart and was covered by a blue jacket. The officer picked up the blue jacket and discovered that the purse was zipped up and full of merchandise. Upon removing the store items from the purse, the officer discovered six small baggies of methamphetamine and two pills later identified as hydrocodone/ibuprophen. The store employee printed a receipt for the store items in the purse, and the total price was $75.10. Appellee was placed under arrest for theft over $50. Appellee filed a motion to suppress the drugs, and the police report of the incident was admitted at the suppression hearing. At issue for the Court of Criminal Appeals' review was whether a police officer had probable cause to arrest a customer for theft from a store (for concealing items in her purse) when she had not yet exited the store and when she claimed, after being confronted by the officer, that she was going to pay for the items she had taken. The Court concluded the officer had probable cause to arrest. View "Texas v. Ford" on Justia Law