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Hyland v. State

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas

June 5, 2019



          Yeary, J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which Keller, P.J., and Keasler, Hervey, Richardson, Keel, Walker, and Slaughter, JJ., joined. Hervey, J., filed a concurring opinion in which Richardson, Walker, and Slaughter, JJ., joined. Newell, J., concurred.


          Yeary, J.

         Appellant, Richard Hyland, while operating his motorcycle on which his wife was a passenger, was involved in an accident that injured him seriously and killed his wife. An investigating officer subsequently obtained a search warrant for and then obtained a sample of Appellant's blood, which demonstrated that he was intoxicated. Appellant was convicted of the intoxication manslaughter of his wife, but the Thirteenth Court of Appeals reversed Appellant's conviction. The court of appeals held that, after the trial court conducted a Franks[1] hearing and excised portions of the officer's blood-draw search warrant affidavit, the remaining facts in the affidavit did not support a finding of probable cause that evidence of driving while intoxicated would be found in Appellant's blood. Hyland v. State, No. 13-16-00596-CR, 2018 WL 1633487, at *6 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi-Edinburg Apr. 5, 2018) (not designated for publication). Specifically, the court of appeals held that, in light of this Court's decision in McClintock I, [2] and the Eleventh Court of Appeals' unpublished decision in State v. Lollar, the excised affidavit did not "clearly" establish probable cause. Id. (citing McClintock v. State, 444 S.W.3d 15, 20 (Tex. Crim. App. 2014), and State v. Lollar, No. 11-10-00158-CR, 2012 WL 3264428 (Tex. App.-Eastland Aug. 9, 2012) (not designated for publication)).

         We granted the State's petition for discretionary review to determine: (1) whether a sustained Franks motion and the consequent purging of false statements from a search warrant affidavit trigger a heightened probable cause standard-namely, that the affidavit must "clearly" establish probable cause;[3] and (2) whether a police officer's detection of the strong smell of alcohol emanating from the driver of a motor vehicle that was involved in a serious, single-vehicle accident supports a finding of probable cause that evidence of driving while intoxicated would be found in the driver's blood. We reverse the holding of the court of appeals.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Accident[4]

         Appellant and his wife, Jaime Doherty, left the Frontier Saloon in Corpus Christi shortly before 10:50 p.m. on May 30, 2014. Appellant drove his motorcycle while Doherty rode on the back. Shortly after leaving the bar, Appellant lost control of his motorcycle and careened off the road. When first responders arrived at the scene of the accident they found Doherty on the side of the road, deceased, and Appellant, who had sustained serious injuries and was unconscious, nearby.

         Corpus Christi Police Officer Raymond Harrison arrived on the scene as Appellant was being transported to the hospital. Harrison conducted an investigation at the scene, which included speaking with eyewitnesses who indicated that Appellant was the driver of the motorcycle. Harrison left the accident scene and drove to the hospital to continue his investigation into whether Appellant committed an offense. At the hospital, Harrison detected a strong odor of alcohol emanating from Appellant's unconscious body. Believing that Appellant was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and, therefore, may have committed at least the offense of driving while intoxicated, Harrison completed a pre-printed search warrant affidavit form that the Corpus Christi Police Department uses to obtain search warrants for blood or breath in driving while intoxicated investigations.[5]After obtaining a search warrant, Harrison directed the on-duty phlebotomist at the hospital to take a sample of Appellant's blood, which revealed a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.19.

         B. The Search Warrant Affidavit

         The pre-printed affidavit form that Officer Harrison filled out contains introductory and concluding statements and nine numbered paragraphs, each of which contains brief statements, and some of which include blank lines for the affiant to use to conform the affidavit to the specific facts of a given case.[6] The introductory statement contains a line on which the affiant, Harrison, listed his name and badge number, and identified himself as a peace officer with the Corpus Christi Police Department. It also contains another line on which Harrison indicated he has been a certified police officer for nine years.

         The first numbered paragraph (Paragraph 1) contains lines on which an affiant may provide identifying information about the suspect. On that line, Officer Harrison identified the suspect as Richard Hyland, a white male whose date of birth is January 5, 1984, who is six feet tall, weighs 170 pounds, and has brown hair. Paragraphs 2 and 3, which are entirely pre-printed and contain no additions by Harrison, then state that the suspect is in the custody of the Corpus Christi Police Department and that he has possession of and is concealing human blood, which constitutes evidence that he committed the offense described in Paragraph 4. The next paragraph, Paragraph 4, contains date and time blanks and the elements of the offense of driving while intoxicated. Harrison conformed the blank lines in this paragraph to reflect that on May 30, 2014, at 10:50 p.m., Hyland committed the offense of driving while intoxicated. Paragraph 5 contains three options to indicate how the affiant knows that the suspect was operating a motor vehicle in a public place (one of the elements of the offense of driving while intoxicated): (1) the affiant's personal observation; (2) the suspect's own admission; or (3) an eyewitness account. Officer Harrison put an "X" on the line next to the eyewitness account option to indicate its applicability to this case, and Harrison included the names and addresses of two eyewitnesses who observed Appellant operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

         Paragraph 6 contains a list of potential observations that might lead a person to reach a conclusion about whether a suspect was intoxicated while driving. The list includes general appearance, odor of alcohol, condition of eyes, speech, attitude, and balance. Each of these options is followed by a line on which an affiant can elaborate about the specific observations. On the blank line following the option titled "general appearance," Officer Harrison wrote "bloody," and on the blank line following "odor of alcohol," Harrison wrote "strong."

         Paragraph 8 begins with the following statement: "Additional facts leading me to believe that the suspect was intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place are as follows[.]" That statement is followed on the form by lines on which Officer Harrison wrote: "Involved in motorcycle crash (case # 1402159). Passenger DOA and suspect is in coma at Spohn Memorial Hospital."[7]

         Paragraphs 7 and 9 of the affidavit form are entirely pre-printed paragraphs with no space for the affiant to add additional information. Paragraph 7 reads:

I requested performance of field sobriety tests by the suspect and recorded the results and my observations of the suspect's performance of filed [sic] sobriety tests and signs of intoxication in the attached SFST SCORING SHEET, which is attached hereto and incorporated herein for all purposes.[8]

         Paragraph 9 reads:

I have seen intoxicated persons on many occasions in the past. Based on all of the above and my experience and training, I determined that the suspect was intoxicated, and I placed the suspect under arrest for Driving While Intoxicated. I requested a sample of the suspect's breath and/or blood, which the suspect refused to provide.

Officer Harrison did not make any alterations to these pre-printed paragraphs in the affidavit. He signed the affidavit, dated it, marked it with the time ("1:18"), and submitted it to a magistrate, who issued a search warrant to extract Appellant's blood.

         C. Statements Excised ...

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