Price Gouging as Texans Prepare to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus
Price gouging is illegal, and a disaster declaration triggers tough penalties under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Texans who believe they've encountered price gouging should contact the Texas Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at (800) 621-0508 or file a complaint at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/consumer-protection.
1. "Did the court of appeals err in finding exigent circumstances existed?
2. "Can law enforcement create their own exigent circumstances?"
Balkissoon was arrested for felony driving while intoxicated. Relying on the mandatory blood draw statute, the trooper obtained blood without first seeking a warrant. The trooper explained that, had he attempted to obtain a warrant, the process could have taken four hours because the county does not have a magistrate available at the jail and he conducted his investigation alone. The trial court denied Balkissoon's motion to suppress.
The court of appeals affirmed. It held that the trial court could have determined that the "lengthy process" for obtaining a warrant described by the trooper, along with the fact that there was no one to help the trooper process Balkissoon's vehicle or obtain a warrant, justified proceeding without one.
Balkissoon makes two arguments. First, he argues that the exigency exception to the warrant requirement does not apply because there was nothing exceptional about this case. Because it was "business as usual," finding exigency on these facts would create a "small county exception" to the Fourth Amendment. Second, the video of the stop shows that a county deputy arrived during the stop but the trooper allowed him to leave. Balkissoon argues that an officer should not be permitted to reject assistance and then claim that the lack of assistance prevented him from pursuing a warrant.