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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Jan. 7, 2003, the appellant, James Edwin Griffin, pleaded guilty to the felony offense of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit theft. The appellant had filed no written pretrial motions. In accordance with a plea agreement, the trial court assessed the appellant’s punishment at confinement in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a period of 10 years. The appellant then filed a timely pro se notice of appeal without seeking the trial court’s permission to do so or complying with Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 25.2(a)(2). Before the appellant had filed his brief on the merits, the court of appeals dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction. It also denied his subsequent motion for rehearing. This court granted the appellant’s petition for discretionary review. The appellant argues that the court of appeals erred in dismissing his appeal prior to briefs being filed on the merits because he is entitled to raise jurisdictional matters on direct appeal. He contends that the current Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 25.2(a)(2) abridges his substantial right provided by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 44.02 to appeal jurisdictional matters, and thus, Rule 25.2(a)(2) is invalid. HOLDING:Affirmed. In 1972, this court held in Helms v. State that “[w]here a plea of guilty is voluntarily and understandingly made, all non-jurisdictional defects including claimed deprivation of federal due process are waived.” Helms v. State, 484 S.W.2d 925 (Tex. Crim. App. 1972). In response to Helms, the Legislature amended Article 44.02 in 1977. The intent of the 1977 amendment was to eliminate appeals in which the defendant had entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere before the court as part of a plea bargain and the punishment assessed did not exceed that agreed upon. Cooper v. State, 45 S.W.3d 77 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001). Thus, the 1977 amendment legislatively countered the practical result of Helms by discouraging the trial of cases solely to preserve an issue for appeal and, by recognizing that even plea-bargaining defendants could appeal rulings on written pretrial motions, also encouraged guilty pleas. In 1985, the Legislature authorized this court to repeal sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure and promulgate rules of post-trial, appellate, and review procedures in criminal cases. However, the grant of rule-making authority was limited, and the court may not by those rules “abridge, enlarge, or modify the substantive rights of a litigant.” Pursuant to this rule-making authority, this court promulgated Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 40(b)(1), which used language very similar to Article 44.02′s proviso and was based on the assumption that “the body of case law construing the proviso [of Article 44.02] would prevail and still control.” This court has, in the past, recognized the right of a defendant who pleaded guilty pursuant to a plea agreement, but who did not comply with Rule 40(b)(1), to still raise on appeal issues of jurisdiction and voluntariness of a plea. Flowers v. State, 935 S.W.2d 131 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996). After Flowers, in 1997, this court replaced Rule 40(b)(1) with Rule 25.2(b)(3), which continued the unauthorized exception for jurisdictional complaints. In 2002, this court deleted Rule 25.2(b)(3) and inserted the two exceptions authorized in Rule 40(b)(1) into Rule 25.2 as subsection (a)(2). The language of the current Rule 25(a)(2) and the 1977 proviso of Article 44.02 are substantially the same. Because the right to appeal is guaranteed only by statute and because the Legislature did not expressly or even impliedly make an exception for appeals of jurisdictional issues that fall outside of the statutory exceptions, the court concludes that the requirements of the current Rule 25(a)(2) are consistent with the initial legislative intent and do not impermissibly abridge the right to appeal. OPINION:Johnson, J., joined by Keller, P.J., and Price, Womack, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb, and Cochran, JJ., delivered the opinion of the Court. Meyers, J., did not participate.

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