STATE V WINSOR

This is an audio case brief of State v. Winsor, 110 S.W. 3d 882 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003).  The audio brief provides a full case analysis. However a written summary of the case is provided below.

Table of Contents

FACTS

On December 3, 2001 Richard Windsor drove his small blue automobile on Nicholas Street, in Fulton, Missouri. Nicolas street was a one-way street for northbound traffic only.  Windsor however, drove southbound on the wrong direction. Sgt. K.J. Heather, a Fulton City Police Officer, observed Windsor around 8:15 p.m. on that day driving the wrong way down the street. He stopped Windsor, and ran a background check on him. The officer discovered that Windsor had two outstanding warrants issued in Cole County, Missouri. The warrants were for possession of a controlled substance and violation of probation. Sgt. Heather placed Windsor under arrest on the two warrants.

The Sgt searched Windsor and discovered a cigarette package in his sweatshirt pocket. The cigarette package contained two partially burned marijuana cigarettes. She then searched the cabin of the vehicle that Windsor was driving and discovered a small red pipe on the floorboard in front of the driver’s seat. She transported Windsor to the Fulton Police Department for processing prior to incarceration at the Callaway County Jail.

While at the Fulton City Police Department, Sgt. Heather asked Windsor if he had anything else on him that she had not located during his search. He also advised Windsor that if he took any drugs into the jail it would constitute a felony. Windsor remained silent. Windsor was transported to the Callaway County Jail authorities on the outstanding warrants from Cole County and new charges of misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. At the jail, Correction Officer Chris Chaney searched Windsor as part of the admission booking process and discovered a “baggie” containing a green leafy substance in the waistband of Appellant’s shorts. The substance was analyzed, and was discovered to be marijuana.

The trial court found Windsor guilty of possession of controlled substance on the premises of the Callaway County Jail.

Windsor appealed his conviction.

ISSUE

The issue is whether Section 221.111.1, requires a defendant who is charged for possession of a controlled substance in county jail be voluntary present in the county jail.

RULE

Section 221.111.1 reads in relevant parts as follows;

No person shall knowingly deliver, attempt to deliver, have in his possession, deposit or conceal in or about the premises of any county jail or other county correctional facility:

 Any controlled substance as that term is defined by law, except upon the written prescription of a licensed physician, dentist, or veterinarian;

Under 562.011.1 RSMo 2000, a person is not guilty of an offense unless his liability is based on conduct which includes a voluntary act. A voluntary act is defined by section 562.011 as:

  1. A “voluntary act” is

A bodily movement performed while conscious as a result of effort or determination; or

An omission to perform an act of which the actor is physically capable.

3 Possession is a voluntary act if the possessor knowingly procures or receives the thing possessed, or having acquired control of it was aware of his control for a sufficient time to have enabled him to dispose of it or terminate his control.

APPLICATION

Windsor argued that possession of a controlled substance is inadequate, by itself, to satisfy the elements of the offense. He contended that not only must he have voluntarily possessed marijuana while on the county jail premises but that he must also have voluntarily been on the county jail’s premises. He asserted that his possession of marijuana on county jail premises does not constitute a voluntary act because he was taken onto the county jail’s premises against his will. Thus, he claims that a crucial element of the offense is lacking.

The court disagreed.

The offense for which Windsor was charged does not require his voluntary presence on the premises. The statute only requires his voluntary possession of a controlled substance while in or about the county jail. Windsor’s  act of possessing a controlled substance on county jail premises was a voluntary act because he had  acquired control of it and was aware of his control for a sufficient time to have enabled him to dispose of it or terminate his control.

Whether Windsor’s presence on the county jail’s premises was voluntary or against his will is irrelevant for purposes of determining whether he committed the offense. To adopt the interpretation of this statute suggested by Windsor would prevent the arrest and conviction of inmates for crimes committed on the jail premises because inmates are not voluntarily present at the jail. Such a reading of the statute would lead to absurd results and render is meaningless.

 

CONCLUSION

Windsor’s conviction was affirmed.

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