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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: The question presented in these companion cases is whether punishment testimony by a defendant offered in the course of a “timely pass for plea” proceeding is protected by Texas Rule of Evidence 410. HOLDING: The court affirms the judgment of the Dallas Court of Appeals and reverses the judgment of the Tyler Court of Appeals. Texas statutes governing the procedures involved when a defendant pleads guilty are intended to be included in Rule 410(3) as comparable to procedures under Federal Rule 11. The language in Rule 410(3) regarding “comparable state procedures” allows the protection of Rule 410(3) to extend to statements made in the course of similar procedures in other states. The court recognizes that the “timely pass for plea” procedure is distinct from an open plea of guilt, a conditional plea, or a plea bargain agreement between the state and defendant regarding dismissal of other actions, punishment recommendations, or a maximum punishment which is subject to the trial court’s approval. However, Rule 410(3) does not require that procedures be identical to those followed pursuant to Federal Rule 11, only that they be comparable. The “timely pass for plea” proceeding, while not governed by Federal Rule 11, is comparable to procedures under Federal Rule 11 as well as procedures under the corresponding provisions of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The procedure incorporates the safeguards provided by both Rule 11 and comparable state procedure, ensures the voluntariness of the plea by ensuring it is not made pursuant to promises made by the state that have not been introduced to the trial court, and encourages the parties to resolve the case short of trial. Although the “timely pass for plea” procedure is not identical to procedures under Federal Rule 11, it is comparable to those procedures and consistent with, insofar as it does not conflict with, state plea procedures. Therefore, any statement made in the course of any procedures under a “timely pass for plea,” when the guilty plea is later withdrawn, will be protected by Rule 410(3). The court interprets the plain meaning of Rule 410(3) to be that any statement made in the course of a “timely pass for plea” proceeding where the plea of guilty is later withdrawn, will be inadmissible against the defendant who made the plea, subject to the optional completeness exception to Rule 410. Regardless of this court’s opinion of the policy issues involved, the court cannot read into the rule an exception for perjury prosecutions. The court notes that not even Federal Rule 410 provides an exception for use of otherwise inadmissible statements for impeachment purposes. OPINION: Holcomb, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Meyers, Price, Womack, and Johnson, JJ., joined. Keller, P.J., joined in part and dissented in part. Cochran, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Keasler and Hervey, JJ., joined. DISSENT: Cochran, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Keasler & Hervey, JJ., joined. “I respectfully dissent. I conclude that appellant’s testimony in the punishment phase of a”timely pass for plea’ proceeding (in which appellant had an absolute right to withdraw his plea if he did not like the sentence) did not constitute statements made in a Rule 11-type plea proceeding. Therefore, his testimony was not protected by Texas Rule of Evidence 410(3). I would affirm the decision by the Tyler Court of Appeals and reverse the conflicting decision by the Dallas Court of Appeals.”

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