Difference between revisions of "Texas Constitution:Article V, Section 12"

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Latest revision as of 14:59, September 10, 2020

As amended November 5, 1985:

(a) All judges of courts of this State, by virtue of their office, are conservators of the peace throughout the State.

(b) An indictment is a written instrument presented to a court by a grand jury charging a person with the commission of an offense. An information is a written instrument presented to a court by an attorney for the State charging a person with the commission of an offense. The practice and procedures relating to the use of indictments and informations, including their contents, amendment, sufficiency, and requisites, are as provided by law. The presentment of an indictment or information to a court invests the court with jurisdiction of the cause.

Editor Comments

This section is derived from Article IV, Section 4 of the Texas Constitution of 1836, which read: "The judges, by virtue of their offices, shall be conservators of the peace, throughout the Republic. The style of all process shall be, 'The Republic of Texas;' and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of the same, and conclude, 'Against the peace and dignity of the Republic.'"

As adopted in 1876, this section read: "All judges of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and District Courts shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace throughout the State. The style of all writs and process shall be 'The State of Texas.' All prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by the authority of 'The State of Texas,' and conclude 'against the peace and dignity of the State.'"

As amended in 1891, this section read: "All judges of courts of this State, by virtue of their office, [shall] be conservators of the peace throughout the State. The style of all writs and process shall be 'The State of Texas.' All prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by authority of the State of Texas, and shall conclude 'Against the peace and dignity of the State.'"

The meaning of the phrase "conservators of the peace throughout the State" in Subsection (a) has always been unsettled.

In 1985, the section's second and third sentences were deleted and replaced by the language contained in Subsection (b).

Steve Smith

Recent Decisions

None.

Historic Decisions

  • Ex parte Warnell, 606 S.W.2d 923, 923 (Tex.Crim.App. 1980) (citations omitted) ("He now contends that the felony information to which he pled is fatally defective because it did not conclude 'Against the peace and dignity of the State.' Article V, § 12 of the State Constitution in part provides: 'The style of all writs and process shall be, 'The State of Texas.' All prosecutions shall be carried on in the name and by authority of the State of Texas, and shall conclude: 'Against the peace and dignity of the State.' Article 21.02, V.A.C.C.P., provides . . . . An information is fatally defective when it does not conclude 'Against the peace and dignity of the State.' The same is true of an indictment.")
  • Tippett v. State, 189 S.W. 485, 486 (Tex.Crim.App. 1916) ("[A]ppellant is under the law judge of the corporation court of the city . . . . In Jones v. State, 65 S.W. 92, this court held that, by virtue of section 12 of article 5 of the Constitution, all judges of the courts of this state are not only judicial officers and civil officers, but peace officers also. In that case Jones was a county judge, carried a pistol when not in the discharge of his duties, and this court held that he had a right to carry the pistol by reason of the fact that Pen. Code 1911, art. 476, exempts peace officers from the provisions of article 475, and that the Constitution, by section 12 of article 5, made all judges peace officers.")
  • Bird v. State, 35 S.W. 382, 382 (Tex.Crim.App. 1896) ("The letters 'ag' being entirely omitted. The constitution is imperative that the indictment must conclude, 'against the peace and dignity of the state.' See Const. art. 5, § 12. No doubt it was the intention of the pleader to have begun this clause with the proper word 'against.' But instead thereof he entirely omitted the two beginning letters that would have spelled said word and uses an entirely different word that is not idem sonans, and has no meaning at all. Can we supply this omission? We think not. We would again call attention to the fact that more care and diligence should be exercised in such matters by the lower courts.")

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