Hyland v. Texas

Appellant Richard Hyland was involved in a motorcycle 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 Court of Appeals reversed Appellant’s conviction. The court of appeals held that, in light of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ decision in McClintock I, and the Eleventh Court of Appeals’ unpublished decision in Texas v. Lollar, the excised affidavit did not “clearly” establish probable cause. The Court of Criminal Appeals 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 triggered a heightened probable cause standard, namely, that the affidavit must “clearly” establish probable cause; 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. The Court reversed: “Appellant was known to be the driver of a motorcycle that had recently been involved in a serious, single-vehicle accident that resulted in a fatality and serious injuries to himself. Also, [the officer] detected the strong odor of alcohol emanating from Appellant’s person. Taken together, these were ‘reasonably trustworthy facts and circumstances within the knowledge of’ [the officer] that ‘would lead a man of reasonable prudence to believe that . . . evidence pertaining to a crime [would] be found’ in a search of Appellant’s blood.” View "Hyland v. Texas" on Justia Law