Can Constitutional Statute Challenge Affect Jurisdiction ?

Jurisdiction is the power of the court over the subject matter of the case, conveyed by statute or constitutional provision, coupled with personal jurisdiction over the accused, which is invoked in felony prosecutions by the filing of an indictment. See TEX. CONST. art. V, 12; Fairfield v. State, 610 S.W.2d 771, 779 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1981). Once a trial court's jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties is properly invoked, a trial court's actions may be erroneous, but they are not void in the jurisdictional sense. See Martinez v. State, 5 S.W.3d 722, 725-26 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 1999, no pet.) (citing Garcia v. Dial, 596 S.W.2d 524, 527-28 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1980) (orig. proceeding)). Constitutional challenges to a statute may affect the court's jurisdiction if the statute affects the power of the court over the subject matter of the case or over the personal jurisdiction of the accused. See generally, Webb v. State, 899 S.W.2d 814, 818 (Tex. App.--Waco 1995, pet. ref'd.). For example, challenges to the specific statute a defendant is charged with violating or which defines the punishment he will face, a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute providing the authority of the tribunal before which he appeared or setting forth the practices and procedures relating to the indictment, raise jurisdictional issues. See id. Dalton v. R&W Marine, Inc. 897 F.2d 1359 (5th Cir. 1990) involved the Louisiana long-arm statute, which, like that of Texas, extended to the limits of due process. Id. at 1361. In Dalton, the plaintiff sued his employer. Id. at 1360. He also sued Hartley Marine Corporation, of which the plaintiff's employer was an unincorporated division, and Midland Enterprises, Hartley's nonresident parent corporation. 897 F.2d at 1360-1361. Midland was a holding company with multiple subsidiaries, including five incorporated under Louisiana law and four licensed to do business there. Id. at 1361. Midland had no employees, offices, or property in Louisiana, and it did not conduct business there. Id. However, Midland owned most of the vessels its Louisiana subsidiaries used, bareboat chartered the vessels to them (yielding about 12.9 percent of Midland's total revenues), advertised nationally, and sometimes bought vessels at marshals' sales within the state. Id.