Barela v. State

In Barela v. State, 180 S.W.3d 145 (Tex. Crim. App. 2005), Barela pled guilty in Arizona to two counts of attempted second-degree murder. After the plea was accepted and entered, the court reset the matter for sentencing. Barela escaped from jail and absconded, fleeing to Texas prior to the date of the sentencing hearing. Once in Texas, Barela was indicted and convicted of two other counts of aggravated robbery and sentenced to forty years' imprisonment. At sentencing, the court ordered that the sentence in the aggravated robbery case not commence until Barela completed his sentence in Arizona. Id. at 146-47. On appeal, Barela asserted the trial court abused its discretion by cumulating the sentences because he was sentenced in Texas before he was sentenced in Arizona. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the court of appeals's conclusion that the cumulation order was proper. Id. at 147. In reaching this conclusion, the court recognized that Article 42.08 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure focuses on the order of conviction, not the order of sentencing, and under Arizona law, Barela was convicted in Arizona at the time the trial court entered his plea. The plain language of Article 42.08(a) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure emphasizes that a subsequent conviction can be cumulated with a prior conviction. Id. at 149. "It is the order of conviction, rather than the order of sentencing, that is important when contemplating the propriety of a cumulation order." Id. The court recognized that there is no statutory requirement that a sentence must be imposed in the first conviction before a stacked sentence may be imposed in a subsequent sentence. Id.