Failure to Procure a Written Jury Trial Waiver
In Relying on Meek v. State, 851 S.W.2d 868 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993), the Court of Criminal Appeals held that the failure to procure a written jury trial waiver as required by article 1.13 was reversible without applying a harm analysis. Id.
However, after Cain v. State, 947 S.W.2d 262 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997), the vitality of Meek's holding is questionable. See Lowery v. State, 974 S.W.2d 936, 942 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1998, no pet.).
In Cain, Cain argued the trial court committed reversible error by failing to admonish him of the deportation consequences of a guilty plea even though he was a United States citizen. Cain, 947 S.W.2d at 263.
The Court of Criminal Appeals held that, except for certain federal constitutional errors labeled by the United States Supreme Court as "structural," no error, even one relating to a mandatory requirement, is categorically immune to a harmless error analysis. See Cain, 947 S.W.2d at 264.
The court held that because the failure to admonish Cain concerning deportation consequences was not a structural constitutional error, harmless error analysis applied and any error committed was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.
Additionally, the court held that to the extent Marin v. State, 851 S.W.2d 275 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993), Morales v. State, 872 S.W.2d 753 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994), Whitten v. State, 587 S.W.2d 156 (Tex. Crim. App. 1979), "and any other decision conflicts with the present opinion, they are overruled." Id.
Based on Cain, we conclude Meek is no longer controlling law. See id.
Because we conclude the trial court's failure to procure a written jury trial waiver was error, we must determine the nature of the error. See Cain, 947 S.W.2d at 264; see also TEX. R. APP. P. 44.2.
We conclude first that this is not a structural constitutional error which would automatically require reversal. See Trahan v. State, 991 S.W.2d 936, 940-41 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, pet. filed).
Such errors affect the trial's framework rather than being an error just in the trial process. Id.