In a recent opinion coming out of a Texas court, the defendant argued that a lower court had unreasonably denied his motion to suppress incriminating evidence. After considering the appeal, the higher court affirmed that the evidence was properly admitted, and the defendant’s appeal was denied.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, two police officers were on duty when they received a call about a fight happening in a Family Dollar parking lot. The manager of the store had called the police to notify them of a man and woman arguing outside the entrance; during the call, the manager provided a description of the man’s vehicle as well as the direction he left the parking lot.
The officers responding to the call searched for a vehicle matching the manager’s description and quickly found a car of the same make and model. The officers initiated a traffic stop by pulling over the car, which was occupied by the defendant in this case. The defendant began speaking with the officers, immediately admitting that he had been involved in the Family Dollar altercation.
During the traffic stop, the officers smelled marijuana on the defendant. They also searched the defendant’s car and found pills, which were later identified as methamphetamine. When the officers tried to arrest the defendant, he attempted to run away on foot.
The defendant was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine. He filed a motion to suppress the evidence of drugs, arguing the officers did not have reason to pull him over in the first place. Once the trial court denied this motion, the defendant pled guilty. He later appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to suppress.
The defendant’s main argument on appeal was that the officers who found the drugs in his car did not have the right to initiate a traffic stop. According to the defendant, there was no traffic violation that occurred. Given the fact that he did not violate any traffic laws, the defendant maintained that he should not have been pulled over at all.
The court disagreed with the defendant, affirming the original denial of his motion. It was important, said the court, to consider that the officers had reason to pull the defendant over because of the recent call they had received about the parking lot altercation. The officers were acting in accordance with their duties by trying to locate the defendant, and it was necessary for them to take steps to find the defendant in order to keep the community safe. Because of this duty and because of the match between the manager’s description of the car and the defendant’s car, the traffic stop was legally and reasonably executed.
Given these conclusions, the court denied the defendant’s appeal.
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