from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P.
Dwight Jackson appeals some of his convictions, alleging the
State submitted insufficient evidence.
Christopher J. Foster of Foster Law Office, Iowa City, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Thomas E. Bakke, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
2016, David Dwight Jackson was charged with five counts: (1)
possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with
intent to deliver, (2) possession of a controlled substance
(cocaine base) with intent to deliver, (3) failure to possess
a tax stamp, (4) possession of a controlled substance
(heroin) second offense, and (5) possession of a controlled
substance (marijuana) second offense. Each of these charges
was subject to an habitual-offender enhancement. Following a
jury trial, Jackson was found guilty of lesser-included
charges on the first (methamphetamine) and second (cocaine
base) counts, guilty of the third (tax stamp) and fifth
(marijuana) counts, and not guilty of the fourth (heroin)
count. Jackson appeals claiming the State submitted
insufficient evidence to support his conviction for
possession of the cocaine base, possession of the marijuana,
and failure to possess a tax stamp for the methamphetamine.
jury verdict is binding upon an appellate court if it is
supported by substantial evidence." State v.
Garr, 461 N.W.2d 171, 173 (Iowa 1990). "Substantial
evidence is evidence that could convince a rational
factfinder that a defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt." Id. "Direct and circumstantial
evidence are equally probative." Id. "We
review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence for the
correction of errors at law." State v. Lambert,
612 N.W.2d 810, 813 (Iowa 2000).
viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
State, the testimony at trial established the following.
See Garr, 461 N.W.2d at 173 ("[W]e view the
evidence in the light most favorable to the State,
'including all legitimate inferences and presumptions
which may fairly and reasonably be deduced from the evidence
in the record.'" (citation omitted)). In February
2016, police officers executed a search warrant on an
apartment in Des Moines. When they knocked on the door and no
one responded, the officers forcibly entered and found two
persons in the apartment. They first found a female located
in the living room, whom one officer had seen entering the
apartment shortly before the officers made their entry. The
officers forcibly entered the only bathroom in the apartment
and found Jackson sitting clothed on the toilet, with the
toilet seat open and the toilet water running as if recently
flushed, which one officer testified led him to believe
Jackson had been using it to dispose of evidence. The
officers then searched Jackson's person and found a
plastic bag with 6.97 grams of methamphetamine and three
hundred and three dollars in cash.
officers then searched the apartment's bedroom, finding
three bags containing a total of 1.07 grams of
methamphetamine, with one containing .83 grams, another .24
grams, and the third methamphetamine residue. The officers
also found eight cellular phones, a box of sandwich bags, a
digital scale, a pill grinder, a total of 5.99 grams of
marijuana, and .25 grams of heroin found in a shoe under the
bed. On top of a dresser in the bedroom, the officers found a
prescription pill bottle with Jackson's name on the
label. The officers further found men's and women's
clothing in the bedroom. In the living room, the officers
found approximately 1.33 grams of cocaine base, a small
amount of methamphetamine, drug pipes, a small marijuana
joint, a blunt, some rolling papers for marijuana, a digital
scale, and a cell phone belonging to the female occupant.
They also found men's clothing in the living room closet.
officer also testified to his interview of
Jackson. The officer said Jackson admitted to
selling crack cocaine and methamphetamine-and selling it to
support his own use-but denied selling heroin. The officer
further testified Jackson used certain drug-specific
terminology, such as referring to certain drugs as
"pieces, " which the officer testified "is
generally exclusive to crack cocaine, " and discussed
the price and weight at which he sold methamphetamine-for
instance, that he sold a quarter gram of methamphetamine for
twenty-five dollars and a gram of methamphetamine for one
hundred dollars. Finally, the officer testified Jackson
admitted he had resided in the apartment for the last two
months. It is undisputed there was no drug tax stamp on the
appeal, Jackson claims "aside from the 6.97 grams of
methamphetamine found on Jackson's person, the State
submitted insufficient evidence to prove that he possessed
any of the other contraband found in the apartment."
"Possession may be actual or constructive."
State v. Reed, 875 N.W.2d 693, 705 (Iowa 2016)
(footnote omitted). Here, apart from the 6.97 grams of
methamphetamine, the State relies upon a theory of
constructive possession. "Constructive possession exists
when the evidence shows the defendant 'has knowledge of
the presence of the controlled substance and has the
authority or right to maintain control of it.'"
Id. (quoting State v. Maxwell, 743 N.W.2d
185, 193 (Iowa 2008)). When drugs are found in a person's
exclusive possession, constructive possession may be
inferred. Id. When, as here, "the premises are
jointly occupied, additional proof is needed."
are several factors our court considers to determine whether
a defendant has possession of items when those items are
discovered in a jointly occupied place:
(1) incriminating statements made by a person; (2)
incriminating actions of the person upon the police's
discovery of a controlled substance among or near the
person's personal belongings; (3) the person's
fingerprints on the packages containing the controlled
substance; and ...