BILL OF RIGHTS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TEXAS


Sec. 1 - Freedom and sovereignty of State
Texas is a free and independent State, subject only to the Constitution of the United States, and the maintenance of our free institutions and the perpetuity of the Union depend upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the states.


Sec. 2 - Inherent political power; republican form of government
All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient.


Sec. 3 - Equal rights
All free men, when they form a social compact, have equal rights, and no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate public emoluments or privileges but in consideration of public services.


Sec. 3a - Equality under the law
Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed, or national origin. This amendment is self-operative. Adopted Nov. 7, 1972.


Sec. 4 - Religious tests
No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust in this State; Nor shall anyone be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being.


Sec. 5 - Witnesses not disqualified by religious beliefs; oaths and affirmations
No person shall be disqualified to give evidence in any of the courts of this state on account of his religious opinions, or for want of any religious belief, but all oaths or affirmations shall be administered in the mode most binding upon the conscience, and shall be taken subject to the pains and penalties of perjury.


Sec. 6 - Freedom of worship
All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.


Sec. 7 - Appropriations for sectarian purposes
No money shall be appropriated or drawn from the treasury for the benefit of any sect, or religious society, theological or religious seminary, nor shall property belonging to the State be appropriated for any such purposes.


Sec. 8 - Freedom of speech and press; libel
Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions, on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press. In prosecutions for the publication of papers, investigating the conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.


Sec. 9 - Searches and seizures
The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions from all unreasonable seizures or searches, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.


Sec. 10 - Rights of accused in criminal prosecutions
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 antitrust 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.


Sec. 11 - Bail
All prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses, when the proof is evident; but this provision shall not be so construed as to prevent bail after indictment found upon examination of the evidence, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.


Sec. 11a - Multiple convictions; denial of bail
(a) Any person (1) accused of a felony less than capital in this State, who has been theretofore twice convicted of a felony, the second conviction being subsequent to the first, both in point of time of commission of the offense and conviction therefor, (2) accused of a felony less than capital in this State, committed while on bail for a prior felony for which he has been indicted, (3) accused of a felony less than capital in this State involving the use of a deadly weapon after being convicted of a prior felony, or (4) accused of a violent or sexual offense committed while under the supervision of a criminal justice agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State for a prior felony, after a hearing, and upon evidence substantially showing the guilt of the accused of the offense in (1) or (3) above, of the offense committed while on bail in (2) above, or of the offense in (4) above committed while under the supervision of a criminal justice agency of the State or a political subdivision of the State for a prior felony, may be denied bail pending trial, by a district judge in this State, if said order denying bail pending trial is issued within seven calendar days subsequent to the time of incarceration of the accused; provided, however, that if the accused is not accorded a trial upon the accusation under (1) or (3) above, the accusation and indictment used under (2) above, or the accusation or indictment used under (4) above within sixty (60) days from the time of his incarceration upon the accusation, the order denying bail shall be automatically set aside, unless a continuance is obtained upon the motion or request of the accused; provided, further, that the right of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals of this State is expressly accorded the accused for a review of any judgment or order made hereunder, and said appeal shall be given preference by the Court of Criminal Appeals.

(b) In this section: (1) "Violent offense" means: (A) murder; (B) aggravated assault, if the accused used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault; (C) aggravated kidnapping; or (D) aggravated robbery.

(2) "Sexual offense" means: (A) aggravated sexual assault; (B) sexual assault; or (C) indecency with a child.

Adopted Nov. 6, 1956. Amended Nov. 8, 1977; Nov. 2, 1993.


Sec. 12 - Habeas corpus
The writ of habeas corpus is a writ of right, and shall never be suspended. The Legislature shall enact laws to render the remedy speedy and effectual.


Sec. 13 - Excessive bail or fines; cruel and unusual punishment; remedy by due course of law
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.


Sec. 14 - Double jeopardy
No person, for the same offense, shall be twice put in jeopardy of life or liberty, nor shall a person be again put upon trial for the same offense after a verdict of not guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.


Sec. 15 - Right of trial by jury
The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. The Legislature shall pass such laws as may be needed to regulate the same, and to maintain its purity and efficiency. Provided, that the Legislature may provide for the temporary commitment, for observation and/or treatment, of mentally ill persons not charged with a criminal offense, for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days, by order of the County Court without the necessity of a trial by jury. [Amended Aug. 24, 1935]


Sec. 15a - Commitment of persons of unsound mind
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 judgements 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. [Adopted Nov. 6, 1956]


Sec. 16 - Bills of attainder; ex post facto or retroactive laws; impairing obligation of contracts
No bill of attainder or ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any other law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.


Sec. 17 - Taking, damaging or destroying property for public use; special privileges and immunities; control of privileges and franchises
No person's property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made or secured by a deposit of money; and no irrevocable or uncontrollable grant of special privileges or immunities shall be made; but all privileges and franchises granted by the Legislature, or created under its authority, shall be subject to the control thereof.


Sec. 18 - Imprisonment for debt
No person shall ever be imprisoned for debt.


Sec. 19 - Deprivation of life, liberty, etc.; due course of law
No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land.


Sec. 20 - Outlawry or transportation for offense
No citizen shall be outlawed, nor shall any person be transported out of the State for any offense committed within the same. [Amended Nov. 5, 1985: This section does not prohibit an agreement with another state providing for the confinement of inmates of this State in the penal or correctional facilities of that state.]


Sec. 21 - Corruption of blood; forfeiture of estate; descent in case of suicide
No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate, and the estates of those who destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in the case of natural death.


Sec. 22 - Treason
Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and no person shall be convicted of treason except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.


Sec. 23 - Right to keep and bear arms
Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power: by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.


Sec. 24 - Military subordinate to civil authority
The military shall at all times be subordinate to the civil authority.


Sec. 25 - Quartering soldiers in houses
No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in the house of any citizen without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.


Sec. 26 - Perpetuities and monopolies; primogeniture or entailments
Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free government, and shall never be allowed, nor shall the law of primogeniture or entailments ever be in force in this State.


Sec. 27 - Right of assembly; petition for redress of grievances
The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.


Sec. 28 - Suspension of laws
No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by the Legislature.


Sec. 29 - Provisions of Bill of Rights excepted from powers of government; to forever remain inviolate
To guard against transgressions of the high powers being delegated, we declare that everyting (sic) in this "Bill of Rights" is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary hereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.


Sec. 30 - Rights of crime victims
(a) A crime victim has the following rights:

(1) the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process; and

(2) the right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.

(b) On the request of a crime victim, the crime victim has the following rights:

(1) the right to notification of court proceedings;

(2) the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial;

(3) the right to confer with a representative of the prosecutor's office;

(4) the right to restitution; and

(5) the right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.

(c) The legislature may enact laws to define the term "victim" and to enforce these and other rights of crime victims.

(d) The state, through its prosecuting attorney, has the right to enforce the rights of crime victims.

(e) The legislature may enact laws to provide that a judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this section. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this section may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as a ground for appeal or post-conviction writ of habeas corpus. A victim or guardian or legal representative of a victim has standing to enforce the rights enumerated in this section but does not have standing to participate as a party in a criminal proceeding or to contest the disposition of any charge.

Adopted Nov. 7, 1989.


Sec. 31 - Compensation to victims of crime fund; auxiliary fund
Text of section effective upon adoption of constitutional amendment as proposed by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., S.J.R. No. 33, at Nov. 4, 1997 election

(a) The compensation to victims of crime fund created by general law and the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund created by general law are each a separate dedicated account in the general revenue fund.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section and subject to legislative appropriation, money deposited to the credit of the compensation to victims of crime fund or the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund from any source may be expended as provided by law only for delivering or funding victim-related compensation, services, or assistance.

(c) The legislature may provide by law that money in the compensation to victims of crime fund or in the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be expended for the purpose of assisting victims of episodes of mass violence if other money appropriated for emergency assistance is depleted.


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