Article I, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution ("Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions")

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As amended November 5, 1918:

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury. He shall have the right to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof. He shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself and shall have the right of being heard by himself or counsel, or both, shall be confronted by the witnesses against him and shall have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, except that when the witness resides out of the State and the offense charged is a violation of any of the anti-trust laws of this State, the defendant and the State shall have the right to produce and have the evidence admitted, by deposition, under such rules and laws as the Legislature may hereafter provide; and no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on an indictment of a grand jury, except in cases in which the punishment is by fine or imprisonment, otherwise than in the penitentiary, in cases of impeachment, and in cases arising in the army or navy, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger.

Editor Comments

This section contains many of the rights granted by the state constitution to persons accused of a criminal offense.

It has been amended once. The 1918 amendment added the narrow exception concerning antitrust prosecutions.

Attorney Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

  • Hernandez v. State, 988 S.W.2d 770, 773 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999) (citations omitted) ("We disagree. Our decision rests on our understanding of what Strickland requires and it discusses a possible interpretation of what Texas' right to counsel constitutional provision was originally intended to accomplish. . . . And, those few cases where this Court has interpreted a particular provision of the Texas Constitution as providing 'more protection' than its federal counterpart have either implicitly or explicitly criticized contemporary Supreme Court jurisprudence.")

Historic Decisions

  • Dendy v. Wilson, 179 S.W.2d 269, 276 (Tex. 1944) ("If this court were to say that the trial court had the right to compel these children to testify, then it would have to hold that the Act itself extends immunity from future prosecution to them. In effect, that decision would be a holding that . . . . In the absence of a clear manifestation of the legislative intent to reach that result, and in the face of expressed intent to the contrary in Section 12, this court will not so hold, regardless of the social desirability of obtaining testimony from delinquent children themselves.")
  • Ex parte Wilson, 47 S.W. 996, 1000 (Tex.Crim.App. 1898) ("In the nature of things, there could be no difference between his testifying before the grand jury or before the court. Our constitution provides: 'In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.' Bill of Rights, § 10. And this was as much a criminal prosecution when entertained before the grand jury as if it had been before the court. . . . And in this day neither the legislature nor courts are authorized to violate these sacred provisions of our constitution.")

Library Resources

Online Resources