Search warrants may now be issued based on prediction of the commission of future crimes — in Texas at least.
That was the outcome of a recent case that worried Lawrence Meyers, a Texas Court of Criminal Appeals judge who was the only justice to dissent last week to a decision that ruled that evidence seized without a warrant was admissible in court.
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The case in question was from 2010, when a team of Parker County, Texas, officers entered the home of a suspected drug manufacturer based off a tip from a confidential informant who said the suspect was "fixing to cook meth," according to the Dallas Observer.
The officers submitted for a search warrant, but only after they entered the residence and found the materials used for making meth, neglecting to mention that fact in their request to the judge. They later returned to the home with the warrant, seized the items they found during their initial search, and arrested the occupants of the house.
Defense lawyers argued that the items were seized illegally because the officers didn’t have a warrant, only a tip from a confidential informant, during the first visit.
The case bounced around the lower courts, before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to hear it. The panel ruled last week that, according to federal precedent, the evidence was admissible in court because it had been corroborated by an informant.
The ruling shocked Meyers, the only dissenting judge.
"Had the officers entered the home and found the occupants only baking cupcakes, the officers would not have bothered to then obtain the warrant at all," he wrote in his minority opinion. "It was only after unlawfully entering and finding suspicious activity that they felt the need to then secure the warrant in order to cover their tracks and collect the evidence without the taint of their entry… Search warrants may now be based on predictions of the commission of future crimes."
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