Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 37.07 Interpretation
The Texas Rules of Evidence are not alone in leading to this conclusion.
Previous convictions should not be unnecessarily introduced at the guilt/innocence stage lest they violate Article 37.07 2 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. See TEX. CODE CRIM. P. art. 37.07 2 (trial court should first submit to the jury the issue of guilt or innocence only without authorizing the jury to pass upon the punishment to be imposed) (West 1999).
In Brumfield v. State, the Court interpreted this bifurcated trial statute, determining:
Such procedure was obviously designed to take the blindfolds off the judge or jury when it came to assessing punishment.
It authorized the introduction of evidence on punishment not heretofore held to be generally admissible.
It did, however, limit such introduction to the penalty stage to prevent the accused from being tried as a criminal generally prior to the determination of the issue of guilt.
It thus allowed evidence critical to an enlightened determination of punishment but avoided the possibility of prejudice on the issue of guilt. 445 S.W.2d 732, 738 (Tex. Crim. App. 1969)