Can An Insane Person Serve As a Jurors In Texas ?
The Texas Constitution provides that the legislature shall prescribe by law the qualifications of petit jurors. See Tex. Const. art. XVI, 19.
All individuals are competent to serve as petit jurors unless disqualified. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. 62.101 (West 1998). One of the general qualifications of petit jurors is that they be of "sound mind." See id. 62.102(4).
A juror is absolutely disqualified only when it appears that he or she is insane, under indictment or other legal accusation of theft or any felony, or has been convicted of theft or any felony. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. arts. 35.19, 35.16(a)(2)(3)(4) (West 1989).
In Jordan v. State, 154 Tex. Crim. 217, 226 S.W.2d 449, 452 (Tex. Crim. App. 1949) a defendant filed a motion for new trial alleging that one of the jurors at the time of trial and during trial was insane and therefore not a qualified juror. See Jordan, 226 S.W.2d at 452.
Although not absolutely disqualified, a person who has a bodily or mental defect that would render them unfit for jury service may on voir dire be challenged for cause. See id. art. 35.16(5).
A conviction in a criminal case may not be reversed on appeal unless the appellant makes a showing that significant harm resulted from an absolutely disqualified juror having served and that the disqualification was not discovered or brought to the attention of the trial court until after the verdict was entered. See id. art. 44.46 (West Supp. 2000).