Pleading Guilty for Crimes a Person Had Not Yet Been Sentenced For
In State v. Thompson, 200 Ariz. 439, 441, P6, 27 P.3d 796, 798 (2001), the court held that the defendant had been convicted of crimes to which he had pled guilty even though he had not yet been sentenced for those crimes.
In that case, the defendant committed two drug offenses. Id. at 440, P 2, 27 P.3d at 797.
Eleven days after the second drug offense, he committed theft. Id.
He pled guilty to the two drug offenses, but because he absconded he was not sentenced on the drug offenses even though the court had accepted his guilty plea. Id.
Thereafter, he was tried and convicted on the separate theft charge. Id.
When the State sought to classify the drug convictions as historical prior felony convictions for purposes of enhancing his sentence on the later-occuring theft, Thompson argued that the drug offenses could not be historical prior felonies because he had not yet been sentenced for the drug offenses, even though he had pled guilty to them prior to his conviction on the theft offenses. Id. at PP 3-4.
The supreme court rejected that argument. Id. at 440-41, PP 6-9, 27 P.3d at 797-98.
In so doing, however, despite the absence in subsection (c) of an explicit requirement that the defendant be convicted of an historical prior felony prior to being convicted of the present offense, the supreme court also held that such a requirement existed:
The statute does not refer to the timing of the conviction for the prior offense. It just requires the prior offense to precede the present offense.
The defendant, however, argues that the term "historical prior felony conviction," means the conviction must precede the present offense.
But the statute provides only that the prior offense must precede the present offense. We do agree that the language "prior felony conviction" means something: the conviction on the prior offense must precede the conviction on the present offense.
In the same subsection of the statute, two of the other definitions of "historical prior felony convictions" presuppose a conviction on the prior offense. A.R.S. 13-604(V)(1)(a) and (d). It would be absurd for the statute to require a conviction for more serious felonies, but not for less serious felonies such as the defendant's drug offenses. Id. at 441, P 6, 27 P.3d at 798. In interpreting the phrase "prior felony conviction" to require that the conviction on the prior offense precede the conviction on the present offense, the supreme court clarified that it required both a prior offense and that the conviction on the prior offense precede the conviction on the present offense. "The conviction on the prior offense must precede the conviction on the present offense." Id.