Article 26.13 Texas Code of Criminal Procedure
In Cruz v. State, 530 S.W.2d 817, 822 (Tex. Cr. App. 1975), this Court "commended the practice" that was codified by that amendment, and said:
In addition, we commend as better practice a procedure whereby the trial judge on the record informs the defendant and the attorneys for both the defense and the State that they have a duty to enumerate to the court and upon the record the details of any agreements that may have been reached as a result of plea negotiations.
The instances in which defendants are misled by their own attorney or the State's attorney should be reduced, as well as the instances in which defendants feel they have been misled or deceived. We can perceive no valid reason why in this manner the whole subject of plea bargaining should not be brought out of the shadows and into the open light of day.
The only effect can be more even-handed justice, a better informed exercise of judicial discretion, and an increase in the extent to which defendants feel the criminal justice system has treated them fairly.
The Court refused, however, to follow the decisions of state and federal courts that had given defendants the right to withdraw their pleas if the trial court refused to follow a plea-bargaining agreement.
Whether it was motivated by the Cruz opinion we cannot say, but the next legislature authorized and regulated plea-bargaining agreements by adding a proviso to Article 26.13(a)(2), so that the article read:
(a) Prior to accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere, the court shall admonish the defendant of:
(1) the range of the punishment attached to the offense; and
(2) the fact that the recommendation of the prosecuting attorney as to punishment is not binding on the court. Provided that the court shall inquire as to the existence of any plea bargaining agreements between the state and the defendant and, in the event that such an agreement exists, the court shall inform the defendant whether it will follow or reject such agreement in open court and before any finding on the plea.
Should the court reject any such agreement, the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw his plea of guilty or nolo contendere, and no statement or other evidence received during such hearing on the defendant's plea of guilty or nolo contendere may be admitted against the defendant on the issue of guilt or punishment in any subsequent criminal proceeding. Act of May 27, 1977, 65th Legislature, R.S., ch. 280, 1977 Tex. Gen. Laws 748.