NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION
ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
D IV IS IO N III
No. CACR 07-1055
STATE OF ARKANSAS
Opinion Delivered MARCH 19, 2008
APPEAL FROM THE BENTON
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT,
HONORABLE TOMMY J. KEITH,
JOHN B. ROBBINS, Judge
Appellant Manuel Cuellar pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident that
involved a death (a felony) and driving while on a suspended driver’s license (a misdemeanor).
A jury was empaneled to consider sentencing. The jury sentenced appellant to twelve years
in prison plus a fine on the felony, and six months’ incarceration plus a fine on the
misdemeanor. The judge imposed the sentences on appellant, running them concurrently.
Appellant appeals the sentence, asserting that the trial court erred in considering evidence
outside the record when it imposed the jury’s sentences. We disagree that appellant has
shown reversible error. Therefore, we affirm.
In Arkansas, sentencing is entirely a matter of statute. See Ark. Code Ann.
§ 5-4-104(a) (Supp. 2003) (“No defendant convicted of an offense shall be sentenced
otherwise than in accordance with this chapter.”) Arkansas Code Annotated section
16-97-101 governs the bifurcated sentencing procedures in Arkansas, and it provides in
subsection (6) that “[a]fter a plea of guilty, the defendant, with the agreement of the
prosecution and the consent of the court, may be sentenced by a jury impaneled for purposes
of sentencing only.” Here, appellant had a jury decide his sentence, and the trial judge merely
imposed the sentence entered by the jury verdict. The trial judge was vested with authority
only to reduce the punishment if it were considered too severe under the circumstances.
Thomas v. State, 349 Ark. 447, 79 S.W.3d 347 (2002).
At the sentencing hearing, the jury was told in opening statements that appellant had
prior convictions, including one DWI conviction and a pending DWI charge. An objection
was raised and sustained as to the pending charge a