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Hillman v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

September 23, 2016

ELIZABETH ROSE HILLMAN, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

         Appeal from the District Court No. 3AN-13-7865 CR, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Jo-Ann Chung, Judge.

          Cynthia L. Strout, Attorney at Law, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

          John H. Haley, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock, Superior Court Judge.[*]

          OPINION

          ALLARD Judge.

         Following a jury trial, Elizabeth Rose Hillman was convicted of promoting contraband in the second degree, AS 11.56.380(a)(1), for "introduc[ing], tak[ing], convey[ing], or attempt[ing] to introduce, take, or convey contraband into a correctional facility." On appeal, Hillman argues she could not be convicted of promoting contraband under this subsection because this subsection was not meant to apply to individuals in her position (i.e., those who are incarcerated and already inside a correctional facility).

         For the reasons explained in this opinion, we agree that subsection(a)(1) of the statute does not apply to Hillman's conduct. We therefore reverse her conviction.

         Factual and legal background of this case

         Hillman was serving a jail sentence at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center. After a visit in the enclosed prison yard with a visitor who came from outside the correctional facility, Hillman entered the "strip-out" room - a room where inmates are strip-searched to prevent contraband from entering the prison from the visitor yard. When Hillman took off her shirt and handed it to the officer on duty, a plastic baggie fell to the floor. The baggie contained chewing tobacco - a substance prohibited to prisoners. Based on this incident, the State charged Hillman with second-degree promoting contraband.

         Alaska Statute 11.56.380(a) provides for two ways that a person can commit the crime of second-degree promoting contraband:

(a) A person commits the crime of promoting contraband in the second degree if the person
(1) introduces, takes, conveys, or attempts to introduce, take, or convey contraband into a correctional facility; or
(2)makes, obtains, possesses, or attempts to make, obtain, or possess anything that person knows to be contraband while under official detention within a correctional facility. (emphasis added)

         Here, Hillman was under official detention within a correctional facility when she obtained the contraband, but she was prosecuted under subsection (a)(1) of the statute, the subsection enacted ...


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