Basden v. State

In Basden v. State, 897 S.W.2d 319, 321 (Tex. Crim. App. 1995), the defendant had been assessed three sentences: 50 years for an aggravated robbery, 15 years for an attempted capital murder, and 50 years for an aggravated assault -- both of the latter offenses were committed while Basden was in prison. Basden contended that, under the statute, his 15-year and his second 50-year sentence should run consecutive to the first 50-year sentence, while running concurrently to each other. The lower court, on the other hand, determined that the 50-year sentence for assault would run consecutively to the 15-year attempted capital murder sentence, which was scheduled to run consecutively to the original 50-year sentence for aggravated robbery. The Court noted that the obvious intent of Article 42.08(b) is to deter inmates from committing crimes during their incarceration and to more harshly punish those inmates who are not deterred. The Court held that giving effect to the plain meaning of Article 42.08(b) as Basden suggested would lead to the absurd result of permitting inmates to commit crimes without fear of punishment since, although the first sentence assessed for a crime committed in prison would run consecutively to the original sentence, all future sentences assessed would run concurrently with the latter. So a disruptive inmate might be punished for one offense committed in prison, but would ever after be immunized from further prosecution and punishment. Because of this absurd result, we determined that the Legislature could not have intended such a consequence and we refused to adopt such an interpretation. Basden, 897 S.W.2d at 322.