Article I, Section 15-a of the Texas Constitution ("Commitment of Persons of Unsound Mind")

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Added November 6, 1956:

No person shall be committed as a person of unsound mind except on competent medical or psychiatric testimony. The Legislature may enact all laws necessary to provide for the trial, adjudication of insanity and commitment of persons of unsound mind and to provide for a method of appeal from judgments rendered in such cases. Such laws may provide for a waiver of trial by jury, in cases where the person under inquiry has not been charged with the commission of a criminal offense, by the concurrence of the person under inquiry, or his next of kin, and an attorney ad litem appointed by a judge of either the County or Probate Court of the county where the trial is being held, and shall provide for a method of service of notice of such trial upon the person under inquiry and of his right to demand a trial by jury.

Editor Comments

This section, a narrow exception to Article I, Section 15, was a response to the Texas Supreme Court decision referenced below.

Attorney Steve Smith

Recent Decisions


Historic Decisions

  • White v. White, 196 S.W. 508, 511-12 (Tex. 1917) ("A trial by jury means something more than a hearing before a commission such as that prescribed by said act. With us in civil cases it means . . . a court of competent jurisdiction, and sworn to render an impartial verdict according to the law and the evidence, the hearing to be in the presence and under the supervision of a court duly authorized and empowered to rule on the evidence, and, except in courts of justices of the peace, to charge on the law of the case, and to set aside the verdict if, in the opinion of the court, it is contrary to the law and the evidence.")

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