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Case Of The Day: Curtilage Around One's Home, Continued.

The San Antonio Court of Appeals issued an interesting opinion recently. The facts were as follows: A confidential informant told police that the suspect was growing marijuana at his home. The officers did not get a search warrant, but instead went to the home to conduct a "knock and talk." The home was a mobile home, in a wooded area that is not visible from the road. Only a portion of the yard is enclosed in a chain-link.

There were signs posted in the defendant's pickup truck that stated "No Trespassing. Violators will be shot. Survivors will be shot again." In order to get to the front door, the police had to walk through the chain link fence. However, the backyard was not fenced in. When the officers went to the rear of the home, and went into the backyard and spoke with the suspect. They then saw marijuana plants in his backyard.

The San Antonio Court of Appeals held that the defendant did have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his backyard, even though there was not a fence in the backyard (compare with this blog entry) the court examined several factors. The home was located in a secluded, wooded area--no neighbors within hundred of yards. The home itself is not visible from the road and the back yard is not visible to anyone on the road, driveway, or "usual pedestrian pathway" then it is apparent that he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in his backyard.

If you have been charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, contact a Plano drug crimes lawyer.