Appeal from the 183rd District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 1464891
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Keyes and
Radack Chief Justice
Lawshawn Edward Meane's pretrial motion to suppress
evidence was denied, he pleaded guilty to possession of
between one and four grams of a controlled substance, and the
trial court, pursuant to a plea agreement with the State,
assessed his punishment at five years' confinement. In
his sole issue on appeal, appellant contends that the trial
court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence
because the warrantless search of his person was not
justified by an exception to the warrant requirement. We
reverse and remand.
Baker and Medina of the Houston Police Department saw a gold
Chevrolet Tahoe run a red light at an intersection, so they
conducted a traffic stop. Officer Flora arrived as the stop
was occurring and assisted.
of the dark windows on the Tahoe, Baker asked the occupants
of the car to roll down the windows. As the officers
approached the car, they smelled the odor of marihuana
emanating from it.
officers immediately removed the occupants of the
vehicle-appellant was seated in the front, right passenger
seat-handcuffed them, and seated them on the curb. Two
officers then searched the car, while the third officer
watched over the handcuffed occupants.
officers recovered no marihuana or any other contraband from
the car. The officers then turned to the handcuffed occupants
of the car and searched them. Officer Flora found a small bag
of marihuana and some pills in appellant's front, left
pocket. The pills field-tested positive for heroin, and
appellant was then arrested for possession of a controlled
OF MOTION TO SUPPRESS
sole issue on appeal, appellant contends that the trial court
erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence removed
from his pocket because the State failed to prove that the
warrantless search "was justified by an exception to the
warrant requirement." The State responds that (1)
appellant waived his right to complain about the lack of an
exception to the warrant requirement, and, even if preserved,
(2) there was probable cause and exigent circumstances to
support the warrantless search.
of Review and Applicable Principles of Law
courts review the trial court's denial of a motion to
suppress under a bifurcated standard of review; we afford
almost total deference to the trial court's determination
of historical facts, but we review de novo the trial
court's application of search and seizure law to those
facts. Valtierra v. State, 310 S.W.3d 442, 447 (Tex.
Crim. App. 2010).
trial court is the sole trier of fact and judge of the
credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their
testimony. Id. If, as here, the trial court makes
express findings of fact, we view the evidence in the light
most favorable to the ruling and determine whether the
evidence support the fact findings. Id. We sustain
the trial court's ruling if it ...