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The voluntary presence of an appellant on county jail premises is not an element of the offense of possession of a controlled substance on county jail premises. Rather, an appellant is convicted for his voluntary conduct of possessing a controlled substance in or about the county jail. An appellant's willful possession of a controlled substance itself constitutes the requisite voluntary act. His secreting the substance in or about the county jail, regardless of whether he was present voluntarily, satisfies evidentiary requirements to support a conviction.
While being booked on two outstanding arrest warrants, the arresting officer asked if defendant Ian Winsor had any controlled substances on his person and informed him that bringing a controlled substance onto the premises of the county jail constituted a felony. Defendant did not respond, and he was transferred to county jail. A search at county jail revealed that defendant had a bag of marijuana tucked into the waistband of his shorts. Defendant was charged with and convicted of one count of the Class C felony of possession of a controlled substance on the premises of a county jail under section 221.111, RSMo 2000. Defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that he could not have been properly convicted, as he was not voluntarily present at the county jail.
Under the circumstances, was the defendant’s conviction under section 221.111, RSMo 2000 proper?
Defendant's conviction was affirmed, as whether defendant's presence on the county jail's premises was voluntary or against his will was irrelevant for purposes of determining whether he committed the offense of possession of a controlled substance on county jail premises; Mo. Rev. Stat. § 221.111 (2000) only required a defendant's voluntary possession of a controlled substance while in or about the county jail. In this case, the Court found that the evidence was sufficient to show that defendant's decision to enter the premises of the county jail with marijuana on his person was a voluntary act, in that he chose not to surrender the marijuana after he was informed about the crime during the booking process.