A Swiss Army knife is not a dagger. And that’s good news for Emmanuel Castillolopez, whose conviction for carrying a concealed dagger was reversed Thursday by the California Supreme Court.
After a police officer found Castillolopez with the Swiss Army knife in a pocket with one of the blades fully extended, he was convicted in San Diego of carrying a concealed dagger or dirk, which is a weapon ready for use as a stabbing weapon with the blade exposed and locked into position.
A state appeals court reversed the conviction, ruling that there was “no substantial evidence that the open blade of the Swiss Army knife was ‘locked into position.’” The prosecutors appealed.
A San Diego police officer stopped a car in which Castillolopez was riding as a passenger. During a patdown search, the officer found a knife in the front pocket of Castillolopez’ jacket. The officer testified the blade was in the locked open position.
The state Supreme Court upheld dismissal of the 2012 conviction.
“In the present case, the prosecution’s expert demonstrated that the exposed blade of defendant’s Swiss Army knife was not fixed or immobile and could be closed simply by applying pressure to the back of the blade,” Justice Leondra Kruger wrote for the unanimous court.
Case: People v. Castillolopez, No. S218861