Defendants who enter pleas without an agreement got a windfall from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which gutted a longstanding rule that waived the right to appeal most error in such cases.

In Young v. State, the court in a 6-3 decision on Jan. 5 rejected the Helms Rule, named for its 1972 ruling in Helms v. State, which held that a knowing and voluntary guilty plea waived all nonjurisdictional error on appeal.