Reasons to Overrule Precedent In Texas Case Law

The doctrine of stare decisis should generally be followed, because it promotes judicial efficiency and consistency, it fosters reliance on judicial decisions, and it contributes to the actual and perceived integrity of the judicial process. See Proctor v. State, 967 S.W.2d 840, 844-45 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998). It is often better to be consistent, rather than right. See Malik v. State, 953 S.W.2d 234, 236 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). Overruling precedent, however, is acceptable under certain circumstances. For example, "when older precedent conflicts with a newer decision that is found to be more soundly reasoned, we may resolve the inconsistency in favor of the more soundly reasoned decision." Awadelkariem v. State, 974 S.W.2d 721, 725 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998). Another factor to consider is whether the reasoning underlying the older precedent has been undercut by the passage of time. See id. Further factors that support the overruling of precedent include: (1) when the original rule of law is flawed from the outset; (2) when the rule produces inconsistency and confusion in the law; (3) when the rule consistently creates unjust results or places unnecessary burdens upon the system; (4) when the rule creates differences between criminal and civil practice when a reason for the difference does not exist. See State v. Toney, 979 S.W.2d 642, 645-46 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998) (Keller, J., concurring).