Can You Arrest Someone In His Backyard ?

In Nixon v. State, 928 S.W.2d 208 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1996), vacated, 942 S.W.2d 625 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997) the defendant was arrested for disorderly conduct based on an incident that occurred in the back yard of a private residence. A search of his person yielded cocaine, for which he was prosecuted and convicted. In his motion to suppress the controlled substance, the defendant argued he was illegally arrested because he was on private property, not public property. The police testified that while they were arresting the defendant's brother in the back yard of the residence, the defendant intervened and caused a major scene in front of at least fifty people already present, which prompted more people from a nearby apartment to gather at the location and the adjacent property behind the residence. The court of appeals concluded it "was not error for the trial court to conclude the private residence was indeed a 'public place.'" Nixon, 928 S.W.2d at 212. After the court of criminal appeals granted the defendant's petition for discretionary review, the State moved to amend and supplement the record because the trial court had entered findings of fact and conclusions of law unknown to either party and not included in the record on direct appeal. The court granted the State's motion and remanded for further proceedings. Upon remand, the court of appeals, in an unpublished opinion, again affirmed the judgment and sentence of the trial court (We refer to this unpublished opinion merely to show subsequent history and do not rely upon it for authority.) the defendant's petition for discretionary review was denied. See also Bell v. State, 866 S.W.2d 284, 287 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1993, no pet.) (finding an abandoned house to be a public place).