Police in Texas reported today they received a tip that Skeletal remains found in rear yard of Dennis Anderson. The police knew that Anderson had been convicted in the 70s of a double murder but was paroled years later from his life sentence. After the investigation, the remains of a woman were found in a big barrel with black paint. Anderson is missing and has not been located.

What can we ask about this story? Two things came to my mind. First, can the police just go into his rear yard without a warrant? Is the rear yard part of the house that requires a warrant? Secondly, if the police were allowed to enter the rear yard without a warrant, did they need a separate warrant for the barrel if the barrel was sealed shut?

I do not know the law in Texas regarding warrant requirements, but if the police thought that a person was dying in the rear yard, they can walk in the rear yard to listen for a person who needs help or to search for a person who needs help. This is would be an exigent circumstance. However, once they get into the rear yard and there is no living person in the yard, there is no exigency so they most likely need a warrant for the barrel if its closed. If there are any Texas criminal defense attorneys, please comment.


4 comments on “Skeletal remains found in rear yard of Dennis Anderson

  1. Are you freaking kidding me. This man could have murdered a woman and many more and you are worried about his rights. You are a horrible person to even think this and you should be ashamed.

    What if this was your daughters body in this barrel and had no answers to her murder?

  2. What could be more American then defending the constitution? We the people have the right to be free from illegal search and seizure from the government and we are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty by the government.

    In this case, the man has not been convicted of anything. Other than the fact that there is a body in a barrel in his back yard, there is no physical evidence at all that he committed the murder.

    Imagine that the police came into your home, without a warrant, without probable cause, without any reason allowed by are laws and arrested you for running a meth lab in your house. In fact, no meth lab was in your house, nor has a meth lab ever been in your house. You may answer that the police where you live wouldn’t do that–they wouldn’t arrest you for something that you didn’t do. Not everywhere in our country is like where you live. We have the rules and rights guaranteed to us to protect us from the government in our constitution.

    If you were an emergency room doctor and a man came in suffering from a heart attack with tattoos of bigotry across his entire body including swastikas all across his chest, would you let him die or would you bring him back to life? I would hope your answer is that you would do anything and everything you could do to save him.

    I sleep like an angel.

  3. Re: your initial question, as a lay person, if the police were tipped to the body, doesn’t that give them probable cause to see if someone was laying in the yard? Seems like they could have simply put an officer/s by the yard until a warrant was obtained and that wouldn’t have delayed things.

    As far as the woman freaking out about a defense attorney looking out for the rights of a defendant, she needs to get a clue, that’s what they’re supposed to do.

  4. @Juan: If they needed a warrant, a warrant requires a neutral independent magistrate or judge to decide whether probable cause exists. The police do not get to decide. If the source was known and reliable, they may have had probable cause. My question was whether they even bothered to get the warrant.

    The warrant requirement is fundamental constitutional requirement. Without the step of getting the warrant, the fourth amendment has no teeth.

    As far as the comment about defense attorney, no worries.

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