Texas v. Betts (Original)Annotate this Case
Appellee Tony Betts was indicted for cruelty to animals. The trial court granted appellee's motion to suppress, which complained of a warrantless search and seizure. The Waco Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's order. We granted the State's petition for discretionary review to address: (1) whether an accused has standing to challenge a search and seizure conducted in a relative's backyard where he had permission to house dogs when he did not live at the house and the yard was entirely exposed to the public; (2) whether the majority of the court of appeals improperly ignored the trial court's dispositive factfinding in ruling that the search and seizure was not justified under the plain view doctrine; and (3) whether the majority erred by failing to follow the mandates of "State v. Elias," (339 S.W.3d 667 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011)), and remanding the case to the trial judge to make fact findings and legal conclusions on the issue of whether entry onto the property was justified under the community caretaking doctrine. The Supreme Court concluded appellee had standing to contest the warrantless search and seizure conducted in his aunt's backyard. The search and seizure were not justified by the plain view doctrine, and the State could not rely on the community caretaking doctrine, which it did not raise to the trial court or the court of appeals. Accordingly, the judgment of the court of appeals was affirmed.