from the Iowa District Court for Winneshiek County, John J.
Monson appeals his conviction, following an Alford
plea, of possessing contraband in a jail. POSSESSION
OF CONTRABAND CONVICTION AND SENTENCE VACATED AND REMANDED
FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.
J. Sullivan of Sullivan Law Office, P.C., Oelwein, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Darrel Mullins, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Tabor, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.
Monson appeals his conviction, following an Alford
plea,  of possessing contraband in a
jail. He argues his counsel rendered ineffective
assistance in allowing him to plead guilty absent a
sufficient factual basis to support the charge. He
specifically argues there is an inadequate factual basis for
the "knowing" element of the crime. See
Iowa Code § 719.7(3)(a) (2017).
review claims of ineffective assistance of counsel de novo.
See State v. Harris, 919 N.W.2d 753, 754 (Iowa
2018). Monson must show by a preponderance of the evidence
that (1) counsel failed to perform an essential duty and (2)
prejudice resulted. Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 687 (1984); State v. Harrison, 914 N.W.2d
178, 188 (Iowa 2018).
factual basis is a prerequisite to the court's acceptance
of an Alford plea. See Iowa R. Crim. P.
2.8(2)(b); State v. Schminkey, 597 N.W.2d 785, 788
(Iowa 1999). In the guilty plea context, if counsel allows a
defendant to plead guilty and waives the defendant's
right to file a motion in arrest of judgment when there is an
inadequate factual basis to support the charge, counsel
breaches an essential duty and prejudice is presumed.
Rhoades v. State, 848 N.W.2d 22, 29 (Iowa 2014). A
factual basis exists when the record, as a whole, discloses
facts to satisfy the elements of the crime. See State v.
Finney, 834 N.W.2d 46, 62 (Iowa 2013). "The record
does not need to show the totality of evidence necessary to
support a guilty conviction, but it need only demonstrate
facts that support the offense." State v.
Ortiz, 789 N.W.2d 761, 768 (Iowa 2010).
minutes of evidence reveal the following facts. As a result
of a traffic stop, Monson was taken into custody on drug and
weapon charges. After being arrested and waiving his
Miranda rights, Monson was forthcoming with the
arresting officer about his "history with
methamphetamine use and multiple felony convictions in his
past." Monson was then transported to the local jail for
processing. Prior to entering the jail, the arresting officer
questioned Monson if he had any other contraband on his
person. Monson responded he "could have something in
[his] smallest front pocket." The officer searched the
pocket and located a hypodermic needle cap. Monson advised he
had placed methamphetamine in the cap. No methamphetamine
remained in the cap when the officer located it. Monson
advised he "should not have anything else."
Thereafter, while conducting an inventory of Monson's
wallet, the jailer located a small bag of marijuana. When
this bag was found, Monson advised he had forgotten about it.
plea hearing, Monson professed his innocence as to the
possession-of-contraband charge but agreed there was a risk
of a jury finding him guilty and he "could get a whole
lot worse sentence" if he lost the benefits of the plea
agreement. Monson tendered his Alford plea, and the
court accepted it, concluding "there is enough facts to
prove you guilty of this offense."
question on appeal is whether there is a factual basis that
Monson "Knowingly introduce[d] contraband into,
or onto, the grounds of a . . . jail." See Iowa
Code § 719.7(3)(a) (emphasis added). "[I]n criminal
law the term 'knowingly' has no fixed or precise
meaning" and its interpretation "depends on the
character of the offense involved." State v.
Winders, 366 N.W.2d 193, 195 (Iowa Ct. App. 1985).
When used in a prohibitory statute "knowingly"
imports something more than carelessness or lack of inquiry.
In such statutes, it has been held to mean merely a knowledge
of the existence of the facts constituting the crime, or a
knowledge of the essential facts and not to require
the knowledge of the unlawfulness of the act or omission.
Id. (quoting 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law §
31(3) (1961)). Section 719.7(3)(a) requires that Monson
knowingly introduced marijuana to the jail, i.e., he had
knowledge of the existence of the fact he was in possession
of marijuana when he entered into, or onto, the grounds of
the jail. Monson was forthcoming with the arresting officer
in his exchanges with him prior to arriving at the jail.
Likewise, when questioned whether he was in possession of any
contraband prior to entering the jail, he directed the
officer to the hypodermic needle cap he had previously placed
methamphetamine in, although there was no methamphetamine
remaining in it when located by the officer. When the
marijuana was found, Monson professed he had forgotten about
its presence. Although he does not deny the marijuana was
his, the offense to which he pled guilty requires that he
knowingly introduced the marijuana onto the grounds of the
jail. The only facts revealed in the record before us are
that Monson was forthcoming with the officer and readily
directed the officer to an area he suspected harbored
methamphetamine, but neglected to direct the officer to the
marijuana and later advised he forgot about its presence. We
recognize there are cases in which the circumstances
surrounding the incarceration of a defendant may support a
"knowingly introduce" element even in the face of a
defendant's denial. The circumstances of this case,
however, do not support a finding of a ...