The deputy city manager of a major Texas metropolitan area has resigned from his position according to media reports. The man tendered his resignation after Texas Rangers and investigators from the Drug Enforcement Division of the Wichita County District Attorney's Office allegedly discovered evidence of marijuana cultivation and undisclosed quantities of the drug when they searched his Wendover Street home on May 28.
Drug Enforcement Division investigators began to look into the man's activities after a confidential informant contacted them on April 15. The informant is said to have told them that man was a marijuana user and using his house to cultivate the drug. The informant allegedly did not believe that his information would be acted upon because the man held a senior administrative position in Wichita Falls.
The warrant to search the property was issued on the day of the search by a 78th District Court judge. Investigators gathered probable cause evidence to support their warrant application by conducting a series of trash pulls between April 15 and May 28. During these trash pulls, investigators allegedly found plastic bags containing green plant matter that forensic tests revealed to be marijuana. Despite the alleged discovery of drugs and evidence of drug cultivation, the man has not been charged with any drug crimes according to media reports.
Police are able to search trash placed on the street or outside a residence in an area referred to as the curtilage without first obtaining a search warrant because of a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In California v. Greenwood, the justices determined that such searches do not violate rights protected by the Fourth Amendment. This is why experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise their clients to think carefully before they discard items that could incriminate them in the trash.Source: FindLaw, California v. Greenwood