MARIO G. BARRERA, Appellant (Defendant),
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff).
from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable John
R. Perry, Judge
Representing Appellant: Office of the State Public Defender:
Diane Lozano, State Public Defender; Tina N. Olson, Chief
Appellate Counsel; Eric M. Alden, Senior Assistant Public
Defender. Argument by Mr. Alden.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General;
Christyne M. Martens, Senior Assistant Attorney General.
Argument by Ms. Martens.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Mario Barrera appeals his felony conviction for taking a
controlled substance into a jail. The statute governing that
offense, Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 6-5-208 (LexisNexis 2017),
provides in pertinent part, "Except as authorized by a
person in charge, a person commits a felony . . . if that
person takes or passes any controlled substance or
intoxicating liquor into a jail[.]" We affirm.
Barrera raises three issues. We restate and rearrange them as
I. Can an arrestee, whose presence at a jail is involuntary,
nevertheless voluntarily take controlled substances into the
jail in violation of § 6-5-208?
II. Is a booking area part of a jail for purposes of §
III. Did the State's theory and argument deprive Barrera
of his Fifth Amendment right to be free from compelled
Gillette police officers Overton, Dillard, and Foutch
responded to a reported bar fight at approximately 2:13 a.m.
on January 30, 2016. Several men had allegedly left the
scene, leaving one man unconscious in the establishment's
parking lot. After interviewing witnesses and obtaining
descriptions of some of the participants in the fight, the
officers began to check vehicles in the parking lot to
determine whether any of those involved-particularly, a
heavy-set Hispanic male and a female who had left her purse
behind-might still be present.
Eventually, Officer Overton encountered the heavy-set
Barrera, a female driver, and a second man in a red Chevrolet
pickup truck. He detected a faint odor of marijuana, and
Officer Foutch spotted a pistol in a map pocket on the
driver-side door. Consequently, the officers asked all of the
occupants to get out of the vehicle and patted them down for
weapons. When Barrera exited from the front passenger seat,
he handed the officers two open bottles of beer. Officer
Dillard then ran his drug dog around the car, and upon the
dog's alerting to the presence of controlled substances,
the officers searched the interior of the truck. In the
woman's purse they found approximately four grams of
marijuana and a small baggie containing what they suspected
to be methamphetamine. She was arrested for possession of
those substances. The officers also located marijuana residue
in the cup holders in the front console.
Shortly thereafter, Officer Foutch arrested Barrera for a
violation of Gillette's open container ordinance and
searched him to a limited extent incident to that arrest.
After discovering cigarette rolling papers during that
search, Foutch advised him twice that he would be searched
more thoroughly at the jail and that he would face additional
charges if he had any drugs on him and took them into the
jail. On both occasions Barrera said he had nothing on him.
The officer similarly advised Barrera a third time while
transporting him to the jail, and he again received the same
After proceeding into the county detention facility's
secured garage, Foutch turned Barrera over to Detention
Officer Kellison, who showed and read him a sign on a door to
the secured passageway leading into the jail. The sign
advised that he would be charged with a felony if he brought
any illegal substances or liquor into the jail. Kellison
asked whether he had any such items on his person, and
Barrera said, "No." The three men then entered the
passageway, and the jail control center remotely closed and
secured the door behind them and opened a door at the other
end of the passage into the jail's booking area. The
second door had a sign with the same warning as the first.
Officer Foutch remained in the booking area to prepare his
initial intake paperwork relating to Barrera.
In the meantime, Officer Kellison searched Barrera, emptying
his pockets and inventorying the personal items he found.
Kellison found a very small baggie in the watch pocket on the
right side of Barrera's pants. It contained slightly more
than 1.8 grams of what was later identified as
On February 1, 2016, Barrera was charged with the felony of
taking methamphetamine into a jail under the statute noted
above. In mid-June, the parties stipulated to the joinder of
that charge with a misdemeanor count of possessing
methamphetamine that had been filed in the circuit court.
On April 15, 2016, Barrera filed a motion to dismiss the
felony charge. He argued that § 6-5-208 required proof
that he voluntarily took or passed a controlled substance
into the jail, but that he could not have done so voluntarily
because he was under arrest ...