TX5: SW for firearms in a vehicle permitted search and seizure of GSR although not specified

Officers had a search warrant for defendant’s car for firearms, but they also searched for gunshot residue which was not particularly described. Still, searching for GSR is reasonable on execution of the warrant. Brown v. State, 2021 Tex. App. LEXIS 9555 (Tex. App. – Dallas Nov. 30, 2021) (unpublished):

Here, the warrant does not specifically list “gunshot residue” as an item to be seized. The warrant does, however, list “firearms, firearm magazines or other ammunition storage devices, firearm cases or other accessories” and “ammunition either loose or in factory packaging.” As the State argued below, however, “ammunition” includes the propellant powder that makes up GSR. E.g., 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(17)(A) (“The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.”). Indeed, ammunition is commonly defined as “the projectiles with their fuses, propelling charges, or primers fired from guns.” E.g., Ammunition, merriam-webster.com, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ammunition (last visited November 30, 2021). Moreover, during his interrogation of Brown, Detective Huckaby told Brown that he would obtain a search warrant to search Brown’s vehicle for GSR evidence. Huckaby intended to collect GSR evidence as part of the search and seizure of Brown’s vehicle. The failure to specifically list gunshot residue in the warrant, therefore, did not pose any threat that the wrong property would be seized. Based on a common-sense and realistic reading of the facts of the crime as set out in the search-warrant affidavit, in conjunction with the search warrant’s authorization for the search and seizure of “ammunition either loose or in factory packaging,” we conclude the trial court properly found that the search warrant authorized the seizure of GSR. See, e.g., Gonzalez v. State, 616 S.W.3d 585, 594 (Tex. Crim. App. 2020), cert. denied, Gonzalez v. Tex., No. 21-5327, — S.Ct. –, 2021 WL 5043646, at *1 (U.S. Nov. 1, 2021) (warrant specifying that the truck itself was to be seized and searched for firearms, ammunition, and other evidence that would connect appellant to the crime was “sufficiently particular to authorize a search of the truck’s interior” and collect GSR evidence). The trial court did not abuse its discretion by overruling the motion to suppress and admitting the GSR evidence.

Further, even if the warrant had failed in its particularity, any error in admitting the GSR evidence would have been harmless. …

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