Bates v. State

Decision Date06 October 1992
Docket NumberNo. 6-92-016-CR,6-92-016-CR
Citation843 S.W.2d 101
CourtTexas Court of Appeals
PartiesCharles BATES, Appellant, v. The STATE of Texas, Appellee.

Charles Bates, Palestine, for appellant.

Charles C. Bailey, Dist. Atty., Mt. Pleasant, for appellee.

Before CORNELIUS, C.J., and BLEIL and GRANT, JJ.

OPINION

GRANT, Justice.

Charles Bates appeals from a conviction for delivery of a controlled substance. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for a new trial.

Bates contends (1) that the judgment is void because the jury consisted of only eleven people, (2) that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict, and (3) that his appointed counsel was ineffective.

At trial, the main evidence against Bates consisted of the testimony of undercover police officer Debbie Rojo, who testified that she received a packet of cocaine in a transaction involving Bates. Officer Rojo testified that she drove to an apartment complex in Pittsburg, Texas, with Charles Bates and his brother Melvin in an effort to procure crack cocaine. At the complex, Charles left the car for about two minutes and then returned holding two "rock-like substances" in his hand. He gave the substances to Melvin, who then gave them to Officer Rojo. Later, the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab in Tyler determined that the substances passed in the car were crack cocaine. Bates was charged with delivery of a controlled substance, namely less than twenty-eight grams of cocaine, and was tried before a jury. He was found guilty and sentenced to fifty years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

Bates contends that the judgment against him is void because the jury that convicted him consisted of only eleven people, thus violating Article V, § 13 of the Texas Constitution that requires that twelve people sit on a petit jury in district court. Although twelve people were chosen to serve on the jury in this case, as shown by the "Jury Chosen" list in the transcript, one name on that list, Carrie Reaves, has a line drawn through it. Furthermore, Reaves did not sign the jury verdict forms as did the eleven others. Only the presiding juror need sign the verdict unless one or two jurors have been dismissed by the judge during the course of the trial under TEX.CODE CRIM.PROC.ANN. art. 36.29(b) (Vernon Supp.1992). In that event each member of the jury must sign the verdict, as was done in the present case. The judgment, on the other hand, recites that "Joe Rodsey and eleven others were duly selected, impaneled and sworn" and returned a verdict.

The State does not dispute 1 that only eleven jurors deliberated on his guilt or innocence and on his punishment, but it contends that Bates waived any error by failing to object.

The State suggests that Reaves was properly dismissed by the trial judge because she had become disabled due to illness or death, citing TEX.CODE CRIM.PROC.ANN. art. 36.29(a) (Vernon Supp.1992), which provides:

[W]hen pending the trial of any felony case, one juror may die or be disabled from sitting at any time before the charge is read to the jury, the remainder of the jury shall have the power to render the verdict; but when the verdict shall be rendered by less than the whole number, it shall be signed by every member of the jury concurring in it.

This exception to the requirement of twelve jurors is authorized under Article V, § 13 of the Texas Constitution, which specifically provides that when "one or more jurors not exceeding three, may die, or be disabled from sitting, the remainder of the jury shall have the power to render the verdict." 2

We find nothing in the record about this juror being excused for any reason. There is no docket entry, no reference in the statement of facts, and nothing in the transcript to show that the juror was excused. There is simply no basis in the record on which to say that the court below properly dismissed her from service. There is no presumption from a silent record that the juror was properly excused. Therefore, TEX.CODE CRIM.PROC.ANN. art. 36.29(a), (b) and the portion of Article V, § 13 of the Texas Constitution allowing jurors to be excused because of death or disability is not applicable to this case.

The State further contends that Bates waived any objection to being convicted by only eleven jurors when he did not object to Reaves' absence. The record also shows that when the jury brought in the verdict of guilty, the trial court asked counsel if there were any objections to the court accepting the verdict at that time, and counsel for Bates answered, "No, Your Honor." Also when the jury returned its verdict on punishment, the court asked if there were any objections to the court's accepting the verdict, and counsel for Bates again answered, "No, Your Honor."

Article V, § 13 of the Texas Constitution mandates a petit jury of twelve jurors in district courts. The Constitution allows a narrow exception when jurors become ill or die. The question is whether Bates could waive this constitutional right and whether he did.

An accused may waive his right to a jury trial under the United States Constitution and under the Texas Constitution. Patton v. United States, 281 U.S. 276, 50 S.Ct. 253, 74 L.Ed. 854 (1930); Samudio v. State, 648 S.W.2d 312 (Tex.Crim.App.1983), cert. denied, 462 U.S. 1132, 103 S.Ct. 3113, 77 L.Ed.2d 1368 (1983). It can be argued that to waive a full jury and accede to trial by a lesser number is closely allied to the right to waive entirely a trial by jury in a criminal case. See 47 AM.JUR.2D Jury § 128 (1969 & Supp.1992). In Texas courts, for an accused to waive a jury trial in a felony case, he or she must expressly waive that right in writing in open court with the consent and approval of the court and the attorney representing the State. TEX.CODE CRIM.PROC.ANN. art. 1.13 (Vernon Supp.1992). 3

There are numerous cases in other jurisdictions discussing what constitutes waiver of a full jury. See generally, V. Woerner, Annotation, Sufficiency of Waiver of Full Jury, 93 A.L.R.2 D 410 (1964); see also 47 AM.JUR.2D Jury §§ 128-130 (1969 & Supp.1992). These cases have dealt with such issues as whether it was made in open court, 4 whether it must be made by the defendant personally 5 or may be made by counsel for the accused, 6 whether it must be in writing 7 or can be made orally, 8 and whether the record must reflect that the defendant's waiver was informed, intelligent, and voluntary. 9 There is no need for concern about any of these issues in the present case because all of these issues involve some affirmative act of waiver. In the present case, the record does not show that there was any affirmative waiver in open court or any other place. None was made personally or by counsel for the defendant. None was made in writing or orally, and nothing in the record suggests that the defendant made an informed, intelligent, and voluntary waiver. Thus, the only issue on waiver is whether the failure to object constitutes a waiver.

In Buck v. State, 599 S.W.2d 810 (Tex.Crim.App. [Panel Op.] 1980), the Court of Criminal Appeals held that, when both sides agree in open court, a jury trial could properly be held in a misdemeanor case with only five jurors. The statutorily requisite number of jurors in a misdemeanor case is six. TEX.CODE CRIM.PROC.ANN. art. 33.01 (Vernon 1989). (A defendant in a misdemeanor case has the same right to a jury trial as a defendant in a felony case. Samudio, 648 S.W.2d at 313.) The Court of Criminal Appeals, in dealing with this issue in Samudio, expressly overruled as inconsistent its previous opinion in Buck. Therefore, the Court of Criminal Appeals' overturning of Buck strongly suggests that any time in a criminal case that a juror is missing and has not been properly dismissed by the judge, the verdict is invalid unless the State has procured the defendant's express waiver of trial by jury.

In Samudio, the Court of Criminal Appeals cites the following language from Patton v. United States, 281 U.S. 276, 50 S.Ct. 253:

Not only must the right of the accused to a trial by a constitutional jury be jealously preserved, but the maintenance of the jury as a fact-finding body in criminal cases is of such importance that, before any waiver can become effective, the consent of government counsel and the sanction of the court must be had, in addition to the expressed and intelligent consent of the defendant.

Samudio, 648 S.W.2d at 313.

The case of Clark v. State, 161 Tex.Crim. 278, 276 S.W.2d 819 (1955), adds weight to this conclusion. In Clark, the Court said that a jury of twelve in felony cases is an essential element in the right to a jury trial. Furthermore, the fact that the defendant in Clark had agreed during the trial to excuse a juror so that he could attend his ailing wife did not amount to an effective waiver of the defendant's constitutional rights. In the Clark case, the court said, "A judgment in a felony case where there is a plea of not guilty, based upon a verdict of only eleven jurors, is absolutely void," citing Dunn v. State, 92 Tex.Crim. 126, 242 S.W. 1049 (1922), which says the same thing in no uncertain terms.

A waiver of jury is not to be presumed from a silent record, at least not on direct appeal. Samudio, 648 S.W.2d 312. Even if the waiver of a full jury does not require the same formality as a waiver of a jury itself, there must be some affirmative waiver on the part of the defendant.

The State cites Renner v. State, 758 S.W.2d 890 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi 1988, pet. ref'd). In the Renner case, a jury of less than twelve jurors returned a verdict without each juror having signed the verdict as required by law. In Renner, however, the defendant did not complain about the dismissal of a juror because of illness. The Corpus Christi court held that the absence of the remaining jurors' signatures was a matter of form only and could have been cured if the defendant had objected to the failure of the...

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8 cases
  • Hill v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    • 6 Noviembre 2002
    ...appellant's waiver of her right to a jury of twelve was valid even though not in writing. We believe that it was"); compare Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101, 103-05 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 1992, no pet.) (waiver of twelve member jury when one member purportedly became disabled during trial could ......
  • Harrell v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 2 Mayo 1996
    ...is whether appellant's waiver of her right to a jury of twelve was valid even though not in writing. We believe that it was. In Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101 (Tex.App.--Texarkana 1992, no pet.), the court determined that a jury of eleven could not render a verdict when there was no agreeme......
  • Parnell v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 24 Septiembre 2020
    ...juries made up of fewer than twelve people. Id. (citing Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 1.13; Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 62.201; Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101, 104 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1992, no pet.); Trinidad v. State, 275 S.W.3d 52, 58 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2008), rev'd on other grounds, 31......
  • Hernandez v. State
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • 15 Enero 1997
    ...of cocaine under the law of the parties is so against the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be manifestly unjust. See Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101, 105-06 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 1992, no pet.) (held, in a pre-Clewis opinion, that the evidence, even viewed without the prism of "in the......
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2 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Criminal Lawyer's Handbook. Volume 2 - 2015 Contents
    • 17 Agosto 2015
    ...72 L.Ed.2d 491 (1982), §14:19.2 Bates v. State, 587 S.W.2d 121 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979), §§13:31, 13:13.2, §13:33, 15:55.1 Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 1992, no pet .), §§14:19, 14:31.5 T EXAS C RIMINAL L AWYER ’ S H ANDBOOK C-6 Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct.......
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    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Texas Criminal Lawyer's Handbook. Volume 2 - 2014 Contents
    • 17 Agosto 2014
    ...72 L.Ed.2d 491 (1982), §14:19.2 Bates v. State, 587 S.W.2d 121 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979), §§13:31, 13:13.2, §13:33, 15:55.1 Bates v. State, 843 S.W.2d 101 (Tex.App.—Texarkana 1992, no pet .), §§14:19, 14:31.5 Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), §§14:102, 14:1......

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