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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Appellant was indicted in Arizona for armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder, all stemming from a 1999 hotel robbery during which appellant robbed two victims and then shot each in the neck. The victims sustained serious injuries, but survived. Appellant signed a “stipulated guilty plea” by which he agreed, in exchange for the dismissal of the remaining charges, to plead guilty to two counts of the lesser-included offense of attempted second-degree murder and to waive his right to appeal the sentence or judgment. The Arizona trial court accepted and entered appellant’s guilty pleas after finding that the pleas were knowingly and voluntarily made. The court then reset the matter for sentencing, but before the date of the sentencing hearing, appellant escaped from jail and fled, eventually coming to Texas. Arizona subsequently issued a bench warrant for appellant’s arrest. In 2000, a Texas grand jury indicted appellant on two counts of aggravated robbery. Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges. During a pretrial hearing, appellant’s counsel filed an application for probation that stated that appellant had no felony convictions in any state and informed the trial court that he was filing a motion in Arizona to withdraw appellant’s plea in those cases. During the guilt phase, the state presented evidence that appellant and a companion had approached two individuals on a secluded scenic overlook in El Paso and demanded money and car keys. Appellant then shot both individuals, despite their compliance with appellant’s demands. Again, both victims sustained serious injuries, but survived. During the punishment phase of the trial, a third participant in the robbery, the getaway driver, testified that appellant had participated in at least five other robberies that same night, both before and after the charged offenses, shot one of the other victims in the stomach, and fired on another group of victims as they fled in their car. The state also presented evidence of the Arizona offenses. The jury convicted appellant and sentenced him to 40 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Correctional Institutions Division. At sentencing, the state asked the court to cumulate appellant’s sentence in this case with the Arizona case, pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42.08(a). The trial court granted the state’s motion and ordered that the sentence in this case not begin until appellant completed his sentence in Arizona. Appellant appealed, asserting that the trial court abused its discretion by cumulating his Texas and Arizona sentences, because he had not been sentenced in Arizona before he was sentenced in Texas. The court of appeals concluded that the cumulation order in appellant’s case was proper. Appellant petitioned this court for discretionary review. HOLDING:Affirmed. The plain language of Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42.08(a) emphasizes that only a second or subsequent conviction can be cumulated with a prior conviction. It is the order of conviction, rather than the order of sentencing, that is important when contemplating the propriety of a cumulation order. There is no requirement that a sentence must be imposed in the first conviction before a stacked sentence can be imposed in any subsequent sentence. Nicholas v. State, 56 S.W.3d 760 (Tex. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet. ref’d). A defendant cannot begin to serve the sentence in the subsequent conviction until the sentence in the preceding conviction is completed if the sentences are to run consecutively, but there is no language in Article 42.08(a) that indicates when the sentence in the preceding conviction must occur. Jason v. State, 1991 Tex. App. LEXIS 1000 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1991, pet. ref’d). Therefore, the fact that appellant was not formally sentenced before his escape is not relevant to the propriety of the cumulation order. OPINION:Johnson, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous court.

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