June 2, 2016

Supreme Court reverses conviction for carrying open Swiss Army knife

In People v. Castillolopez, the Supreme Court today holds a defendant cannot be convicted of carrying a concealed “dirk or dagger” for having in his pocket a Swiss Army knife with one of the blades fully extended.  The applicable statute defines “dirk or dagger” as including a knife “that is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death” and provides that “a pocketknife is capable of ready use as a stabbing weapon that may inflict great bodily injury or death only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.”

The unanimous opinion by Justice Leondra Kruger concludes, “Although a blade might be held open in a particular position by means of friction, a blade that can be closed simply by applying pressure to the back of the blade . . . is not ‘locked into position’ as the term is ordinarily understood.”  Justice Kruger writes, “the essential difference between a nonlocking folding knife and a locking folding knife has been understood to be whether the exposed knife blade[ ] is immobile, thereby preventing accidental collapse while the knife is in use.”

The Supreme Court affirms the Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal.

Leave a Reply