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State v. Stewart

Supreme Court of Iowa

January 9, 2015

STATE OF IOWA, Appellee,
v.
JILLIAN JANE STEWART, Appellant

On review from the Iowa Court of Appeals. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, James D. Scott, Judge. Defendant seeks further review of a court of appeals decision affirming her conviction and holding the offense of possession of a controlled substance does not merge with the offense of introduction of a controlled substance into a detention facility.

Mark C. Smith, State Appellate Defender, and Vidhya K. Reddy, Assistant Appellate Defender, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kevin Cmelik, Assistant Attorney General, Patrick Jennings, County Attorney, and Amy Klocke, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 18

APPEL, Justice.

In this case, we consider whether the offense of possession of a controlled substance merges with the offense of introduction of a controlled substance into a detention facility by operation of Iowa's merger statute and principles of double jeopardy. For the reasons expressed below, we conclude the crimes do not merge and may be simultaneously charged in one criminal prosecution. We therefore affirm the decision of the court of appeals.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

As this case raises purely legal issues, the facts need not be recited in detail.

Page 19

Jillian Stewart was arrested by Sioux City police. She was subsequently charged with possession of a controlled substance in violation of Iowa Code section 124.401(5) (2011), introduction of a controlled substance into a detention facility in violation of Iowa Code section 719.8, and unlawful possession of a prescription drug in violation of Iowa Code section 155A.21(1). The State dismissed the possession-of-a-prescription-drug offense prior to trial. After a jury trial, Stewart was convicted of the two remaining offenses. The district court entered judgment against Stewart for both crimes and sentenced her to a five-year indeterminate term of incarceration on the introduction charge and a one-year term of incarceration on the possession charge, to be served concurrently.

Stewart appealed. She claimed the district court entered an illegal sentence because the offenses of introduction and possession merged into a single offense under Iowa Code section 701.9. She also asserted the district court erred in assessing court costs for a charge which was dismissed by the district court. The court of appeals held the offenses did not merge, but agreed with Stewart that costs should not have been assessed to her related to the dismissed charge. See State v. Petrie, 478 N.W.2d 620, 622 (Iowa 1991) (" Iowa Code section 815.13 and section 910.2 clearly require . . . that only such fees and costs attributable to the charge on which a criminal defendant is convicted should be recoverable under a restitution plan." ).

We granted further review. We allow the decision of the court of appeals to stand with respect to the cost issue. See Hills Bank & Trust Co. v. Converse, 772 N.W.2d 764, 770 (Iowa 2009) (" When we take a case on further review, we have the discretion to review any issue raised on appeal . . . . As to the other issues raised in the briefs, we will let the court of appeals opinion stand as the final decision of this court." ). We consider only the question of whether the remaining criminal offenses should have been merged.

II. Standard of Review.

Alleged violations of the merger statute are reviewed for corrections of errors at law. State v. Finnel, 515 N.W.2d 41, 43 (Iowa 1994). Double ...


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