Bell v. State (1999)

In Bell v. State, 994 S.W.2d 173 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999), the court of criminal appeals addressed whether cumulating sentences pursuant to Article 42.08(b) required the same amount of proof as required by Tex. Code Crim. Proc Article 42.08(a). Article 42.08(a) provides, in pertinent part, that when the same defendant has been convicted in two or more cases, judgment and sentence shall be pronounced in each case in the same manner as if there had been but one conviction. Except as provided by Sections (b) and (c) of this article, in the discretion of the court, the judgment in the second and subsequent convictions may either be that the sentence imposed or suspended shall begin when the judgment and the sentence imposed or suspended in the preceding conviction has ceased to operate, or that the sentence imposed or suspended shall run concurrently with the other case or cases, and sentence and execution shall be accordingly. The court held that it did not, and in explaining its reasoning, quoted the State's brief with approval. Id. at 174. Among the arguments the court agreed with was the State's assertion that when a cumulation order is made pursuant to Article 42.08(b), the TDCJ "will necessarily be aware of both: (1) the fact that the defendant was an inmate at the time he committed the offense; and (2) the specifics regarding the sentence for which the defendant was serving at the time." See id. at 175. Thus, the court's approval of the State's argument in Bell suggests that the TDCJ already has the information it needs to calculate an inmate's time when he is convicted of committing an offense while serving time for another offense. See generally id.