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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Natalie White pleaded guilty to the charge of intoxication manslaughter, and the jury sentenced her to nine years of incarceration. White moved for a new trial. At the hearing on the motion for new trial, White and the state stipulated that there were pending theft charges against two of the jurors in this case. Both jurors, Jones and Giddings, testified at the hearing. They both indicated that, at the time of jury service, they were unaware of any pending theft-by-check charges against them. In response to the state’s objection, the trial court allowed White’s defense attorney to make a bill of exception based on the questions that he wished to ask the challenged jurors, but did not permit White’s attorney to record the jurors’ answers to those questions. Her motion for new trial was overruled. On appeal, White raised a number of issues, including a claim that the trial court abused its discretion by denying White’s new trial motion. On direct appeal, White asserted that the trial court violated her right to due process of law when it denied her requests to present testimony and to make a bill of exception regarding the harm she suffered from the seating of those two “absolutely disqualified” jurors. Texas Rule of Evidence 606(b) provides that, “[u]pon an inquiry into the validity of a verdict or indictment, a juror may not testify as to any matter or statement occurring during the jury’s deliberations, or to the effect of anything on any juror’s mind or emotions or mental processes, as influencing any juror’s assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment.” Rule 606(b) also provides that “a juror may testify: (1) whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror; or (2) to rebut a claim that the juror was not qualified to serve.” Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 44.46 provides that a criminal conviction may be reversed on appeal on the ground that a juror was absolutely disqualified from service under Art. 35.19 only if: 1. the defendant raises the disqualification before the verdict is entered; or 2. “the disqualification was not discovered or brought to the attention of the trial court until after the verdict was entered and the defendant makes a showing of significant harm by the service of the disqualified juror.” The 6th Court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had upheld Federal Rule 606(b) in a challenge to that rule’s preclusion of juror-misconduct testimony and that the Texas Supreme Court and several Texas courts of appeals, including the 6th Court, had each previously held that the general prohibition on juror testimony pursuant to Texas Rule 606(b) was constitutional. It concluded that Rule 606(b) was not unconstitutional as applied to White in this case. The 6th Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. HOLDING:Affirmed. White noted that Rule 606 allows a juror to testify concerning whether any outside influence was improperly brought to bear upon any juror and to rebut a claim that the juror was not qualified to serve. White argued that “[t]he service of a disqualified juror introduces into a jury’s deliberation”outside influence’ that is, the influence of a person who is absolutely excluded by law from the jury room.” White also suggested that Texas law allows the state and the defendant to waive all other grounds for challenge to prospective jurors “except those that are essential to”insure the probity of the jury.’” White argued that she suffered significant harm by the mere presence of the two absolutely disqualified jurors participating in jury deliberations and decision-making. The state argues that Rule 606(b) limits post-verdict juror testimony to testimony relating to outside influence. It also asserted that Rule 606(b)’s exception to allow a juror to testify on outside influences does not apply, because the two jurors in question were not outside influences. The CCA was also unconvinced. The plain language of Rule 606(b), the CCA stated, indicates that an outside influence is something outside of both the jury room and the juror. The CCA was also unconvinced by White’s contention that the challenged jurors’ mere presence significantly harmed White and stated that holding otherwise: would preclude any possible avenue for discovering whether these jurors caused substantial harm; would deny her due process of law; and would call into question the constitutionality of Art. 44.46. Thus, the CCA concluded that the 6th Court did not err in affirming the trial court’s refusal to permit testimony from the challenged jurors. Accordingly, it affirmed the judgment of the 6th Court. OPINION:Johnson, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which Keller, P.J., and Meyers, Womack, Keasler, Hervey, Holcomb and Cochran, J.J., joined. CONCURRENCE:Price, J., filed a concurring opinion. “I cannot conceive how the appellant could otherwise show, even if we were to construe Rule 606(b) to permit the jurors to testify about their deliberations, that the integrity of the sentencing tribunal was actually compromised by the service of the two disqualified jurors.”

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