from the Superior Court in Navajo County The Honorable Dale
P. Nielson, Judge Nos. CR-2015-00087; CR-2015-000700
of the Court of Appeals, Division One 241 Ariz. 449 (App.
Brnovich, Arizona Attorney General, Dominic Draye, Solicitor
General, Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel, Michael Valenzuela
(argued), Assistant Attorney General Criminal Appeals
Section, Phoenix, Attorneys for State of Arizona
E. Candelaria (argued), Criss Candelaria Law Office P.C.,
Concho, Attorneys for Darrel Scott Francis
McDonald (argued), Osborn Maledon, P.A., Phoenix; Keith J.
Hilzendeger, Assistant Federal Public Defender, Phoenix; and
Carol Lamoureux, Law Offices of Hernandez & Hamilton, PC,
Tucson, Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Arizona Attorneys for
JUSTICE BOLICK authored the opinion of the Court, in which
CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, VICE CHIEF JUSTICE PELANDER, JUSTICES
BRUTINEL, TIMMER, and GOULD, and JUDGE MORAN
We consider in this case whether the state must prove that a
defendant knew an item he possessed was
"contraband" to convict the defendant under A.R.S.
§ 13-2505(A) of knowingly possessing contraband while
being confined in a correctional facility or transported to
it. We hold that when such a defendant possesses an item that
is statutorily defined as contraband, the state need prove
only that the defendant knowingly possessed the item, not
that the defendant knew it was contraband.
In October 2014, officers booked Darrel Scott Francis into
the Navajo County Jail Annex on charges unrelated to this
case. Upon booking, officers took and bagged Francis'
personal property, including clothing and a cellphone. The
next day, Francis asked to call his attorney. When the
officer could not find the attorney's number, Francis
told her he had it in his cellphone, which the officer
retrieved to obtain the number. Later, Francis was
transferred to the main jail, where an officer confiscated a
cellphone held by Francis.
The State charged Francis under A.R.S. § 13-2505(A)(1)
and (A)(3) with two counts of promoting prison contraband,
one for obtaining or possessing the cellphone in the jail
annex or during transport and the other for taking it inside
the jail grounds. Before trial, the superior court ruled that
the State need not prove that Francis knew the cellphone was
contraband. The jury found Francis guilty, and the court
sentenced him to two concurrent five-year prison terms.
The court of appeals reversed Francis' convictions and
sentences, applying A.R.S. § 13-202(A) to conclude that
the State had to prove that Francis knew that the cellphone
was contraband. State v. Francis, 241 Ariz. 449,
452-54 ¶¶ 12-21 (App. 2017). In light of its
ruling, the court of appeals declined to address Francis'
argument that the trial court also erred by allowing the
State to call his former lawyer to testify about Francis'
prior convictions. Id. at 454 ¶ 24 n.6.
We granted review to clarify what the state must prove to
convict a defendant under A.R.S. § 13-2505(A), a
recurring issue of statewide importance. We have jurisdiction
under article 6, section ...