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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellant was indicted for attempted sexual assault. The indictment contained no enhancement allegations. On Feb. 18, 2003, six days before trial, the state filed and served upon appellant a “notice of enhancement,” describing a prior burglary conviction that the state intended to use to elevate the punishment for the indicted offense to a second-degree felony. On Feb. 27, at the punishment phase of trial, defense counsel lodged several objections to the notice, including an objection that the notice was untimely. The trial court deferred ruling on the objection until after presentation of the evidence. During the hearing, the state obtained a set of appellant’s fingerprints to compare with those found on judgments for the prior felony enhancement conviction and also for ten prior misdemeanor convictions. Appellant expressed confusion regarding the fingerprint comparison process, and he complained that defense counsel had not explained it to him. In response to this complaint, the trial court continued the proceedings for a week, resuming the punishment hearing on March 6. At the March 6 hearing, defense counsel acknowledged that appellant now understood the fingerprint procedure and that he was “quite content with it.” Neither appellant nor counsel claimed that more time was needed to prepare for any aspect of the punishment hearing. Appellant stipulated to the judgment of prior conviction but persisted in his plea of “not true” to the enhancement allegation for the express purpose of preserving objections to the state’s notice. During argument to the trial court, defense counsel pointed out that the burglary of a building offense was twelve years old and that the offense “would not be nearly as severe a crime today as it was at that point in time.” The trial court found the enhancement allegation true and sentenced appellant to 18 years in prison. Appellant raised the timeliness complaint on appeal. Finding the complaint to have merit, the court of appeals reversed and remanded for a new punishment hearing. HOLDING:The judgment of the court of appeals is reversed, and the trial court’s judgment is affirmed. In Brooks v. State, 957 S.W.2d 30 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997), the court held that prior convictions used as enhancements must be pleaded in some form, but they need not be pleaded in the indictment. In light of this court’s prior cases and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Oyler v. Boles, 368 U.S. 448 (1962), the court concludes that the notice requirement dictated by Brooks is of constitutional origin, and the court held that the court of appeals erred in impliedly concluding otherwise. The court also disavows the appellate court’s attachment of special significance to the time period of 10 days. “We have no doubt that statutory time constraints are designed to safeguard constitutional notice rights in a manner that is easy for the parties to follow and for courts to apply, but in a review for constitutional error, the statutes are not controlling. The ultimate question is whether constitutionally adequate notice was given.” The court also rejects the appellate court’s conclusion that the relevant time period for determining proper notice is the period before trial. Under Oyler, due process does not even require that the notice be given before the guilt phase begins, much less that it be given a number days before trial. And limiting the notice period to “before trial” ignores the possibility that the trial court could take measures to cure the notice problem by granting a continuance an option Oyler expressly contemplates. Like the defendants in Oyler, appellant in this case had no defense to the enhancement allegation he stipulated to the prior conviction. Nor did he suggest that a continuance was necessary to discover or prepare a defense, beyond the seven day continuance he had already received. The appellant received “substantially more” than the notice minimally required to satisfy due process. He was given notice six days before the beginning of trial, and he had an additional seven day continuance during the punishment hearing. The court disagrees with the court of appeals’ conclusion that appellant’s confusion regarding the fingerprint comparison procedure established prejudice stemming from a lack of notice. Even if appellant’s confusion about the procedure had been relevant to his notice claim, though, the trial court cured that issue by granting a seven-day continuance. OPINION:Keller, P.J., delivered the opinion of the Court in which Price, Womack, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb and Cochran, JJ., joined. Johnson, J., concurred in the result. Meyers, J., did not participate.

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