Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Confirmed – Freddie Gray’s Knife WAS Illegal

Confirmed – Freddie Gray’s Knife WAS Illegal

Current score: Legal Insurrection 1, Prosecutor Mosby 0

Last Friday, while Prosecutor Mosby was announcing her poorly supported tsunami of charges against the six police officers involved in arresting and transporting the ill-fated Freddie Gray, Mosby also remarked that Gray’s knife–claimed by police to be the probable cause for his arrest–was in fact lawful under Maryland law.

As reported by the New York Times:

Ms. Mosby faulted the police conduct at every turn. The officers who arrested him “failed to establish probable cause for Mr. Gray’s arrest, as no crime had been committed,” she said, describing the arrest as illegal. Officers accused him of possession of a switchblade, but Ms. Mosby said, “The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law.

This rather perfunctory statement certainly raised my eyebrows, for several reasons.

Whether Knife Was Actually Unlawful Is Irrelevant to Probable Cause

First, whether the knife was actually lawful under Maryland law is largely irrelevant for purposes of probable cause.

Probable cause is based on whether a reasonable police officer under the circumstances would have genuinely believed the knife to have been unlawful.  If so, the fact that the knife might later be determined to be lawful would certainly be cause to discontinue efforts to prosecute, but it wouldn’t retroactively make the officer’s conduct in making the initial arrest unlawful.

When making an assessment of probable cause for an arrest, the officer is not tasked with making an absolute determination of whether the conduct in question is unlawful.  After all, that can ultimately only be done by a jury, necessarily a decision that occurs many steps downstream from the street arrest.

Rather, the arresting officer is merely tasked with determining whether probable cause exists that the conduct in question is unlawful. Note the word of the use probable.  This allows for the possibility that the cause is not actual. Merely probable.

Certainly, one can imagine situations in which a given knife falls so far from the legal definition of unlawful types that no reasonable officer could have believed it to be within that unlawful category.  If so, a mistaken belief that the knife was unlawful would not be reasonable, and probable cause would be lacking, and the arrest would be unlawful.

Worse, one can imagine an arrest involving malice, where an officer knew full well that the knife in question did not fall within the unlawful category, and decided to fraudulently claim probable cause to effect the arrest.  Obviously such would be an unlawful arrest.

One can also imagine, however, situations in which a given knife could well reasonably appear to fall within the legal definition of unlawful types.  As a result, a reasonable officer might reasonably, if mistakenly, believe it provided probable cause for an arrest.  In this scenario the arrest, as an act of the officer, is lawful, even if later the underlying facts of the arrest are found not to constitute a crime (e.g., closer, better-informed, off-the-street inspection of the knife discloses it is, in fact, not unlawful).

In Gray’s instance, it is not disputed that possession of a “switchblade” knife is unlawful anywhere in Maryland.  It has been widely reported (and now confirmed, as discussed below) that Gray’s knife was of a different mechanism, known as a “spring-assisted knife.”

Both of these types of mechanisms have specific technical definitions that allow the well-informed examiner to differentiate between the two.

It is also true, however, that they appear sufficiently similar in operation that someone lacking specialized knowledge could easily and reasonably believe a “spring-assisted knife” to fall within the “switchblade” category.  The video below illustrates this similarity of operation (the first knife is the assisted-opening, the second the switchblade):

If the arresting officer(s) in Gray’s case reasonably believed that the spring-assisted knife in Gray’s possession fell into the unlawful category, then the legal requirement for probable cause in making their arrest has been met, regardless of whether upon later inspection and assessment the knife is determined to be unlawful.

Thus Mosby’s claim that Gray’s knife was ultimately determined to be lawful is largely irrelevant to the issue of whether the officers had probable cause to arrest Gray.

Mosby Statement Reflects Jurisdictional Sloppiness

As we noted in our Friday post on Mosby’s statement, it also reflects remarkable jurisdictional sloppiness, especially coming from a state prosecutor who works primarily in the relevant subsidiary jurisdiction of that state.  As reported by the New York Times, Mosby is quoted as explicitly stating that:

The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law. (emphasis added)

Maryland law, however, is utterly irrelevant to Gray’s arrest, because he was not arrested for a violation of Maryland law.  Rather he was arrested for a violation of the City Code of Baltimore.

The City of Baltimore has adopted as an ordinance its City Code §59-22, which states in relevant part:

Switch-blade knives. (a) Possession or sale, etc., prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring. (emphasis added)

The description of the charge brought against Gray explicitly provides that he

did unlawfully carry, possess and sell a knife commonly known as a switch blade knife, with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade within the limits of Baltimore City. (emphasis added)

freddie_gray_complaint 600

As we noted in our post last Friday (added – link here):

Thus (and again assuming Gray’s knife was spring-assisted, as widely reported), even if Mosby is correct (unlikely) that the knife was legal under Maryland state law, it would still arguably have been illegal under Baltimore code §59-22.

Task Force Finds Gray’s Knife Unlawful Under Baltimore Law

Now, we can remove the word arguably from the above statement, as a Baltimore Police Department Task Force has determined conclusively that Gray’s knife was of the spring-assisted type, and that such spring-assisted knives fall within the scope of Baltimore code §59.22.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun yesterday:

While Mosby said Friday that the officers had made an illegal arrest because a knife Gray was carrying was not a “switchblade,” a violation of state law, the police task force studied the knife and determined it was “spring-assisted,” which does violate a Baltimore code. (emphasis added)

I can already hear the counter-argument:  That just makes it a tie, Mosby’s office says the knife was lawful, the Baltimore Police Department (biased in favor of the accused officers) says the knife was unlawful.  No winner.

That, of course, would be an improper understanding of where things stand.

First, as already discussed, Mosby’s conclusion of lawfulness was under the irrelevant Maryland law, not the relevant Baltimore code.

Second, for Gray’s arrest to have been unlawful it would be necessary that there was no possibility a reasonable officer would have perceived Gray’s knife as violating the Baltimore code.

Now that the Baltimore Police department has determined the knife did, in fact, violate the code, any argument that a street cop making an arrest on the city’s streets was unreasonable in coming to the same conclusion is simply not credible.

This remains true even if the task force’s determination is later itself determined to be incorrect. If an organized task force of senior officers in the safety of police HQ makes a determination that Gray’s knife is unlawful, no police officer who had come to the same conclusion in much less favorable circumstances on the street in the course of evaluating probable cause in real-time is going to be held to have been unreasonable.

OK, folks, that’s it for now.  Obviously keep your eyes here for ongoing coverage of the debacle that is the Mosby “Freddie Gray Case” prosecutions.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


NEW! The Law of Self Defense proudly announces the launch of it’s online, on-demand state-specific Law of Self Defense Online Training.  These are interactive, online versions of the authoritative 5-hour-long state-specific Law of Self Defense Seminars that we give all over the country, but from the convenience of your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and on your own schedule.  Click over for more information on our state-specific Law of Self Defense Online Training, and get access to the ~30 minute Section 1. Introduction for free.

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Tags:

Comments

Ragspierre | May 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

“Second, for the probable cause for Gray’s arrest to have been lawful it would be necessary…”

I suggest “unlawful”.

    Indeed, thanks, fixed.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      bookerthooker in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      “Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529.”

      “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.”

        The cases you cite are from 1900 and 1877, respectively.

        You’re confident they’re still good law?

        In Maryland?

        Just asking. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          bookerthooker in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 10:58 pm

          Well, if turns out the knife was legal and that the police didn’t have probable cause to arrest him, I imagine the defense will then argue that his arrest was justified because Freddie was resisting.

          If that’s the case, wouldn’t Freddie have every right to resist?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 11:16 pm

          @bookerthooker

          You either skipped or are willfully ignoring the several times that Probable Cause has been explained above. Even if Gray’s knife was completely legal it basically changes nothing and does not make his arrest illegal.

          Gray was a known felon in a known drug area who took flight upon seeing the police. I would be pissed if the cops hadn’t pursued him. Also he was either out on bail, on probation, and/or both. The stipulations of which usually include your immediate and unconditional compliance with law enforcement.

          What all this focus on his arrest and its legality says to me is that they know they have jack crap evidence that his death was anything other than a complete accident. Otherwise, Sharpton and his thugs would have been splashing that evidence all over the TV while media “elites” pontificated on the future of law enforcement.

          Milhouse in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 6, 2015 at 2:24 am

          At least as of 1993 Maryland still recognised a limited right to resist unlawful arrest.

          ** The Court of Appeals has defined resisting arrest as “[a] refusal to submit to lawful arrest”.
          ** In Maryland, “one illegally arrested may use any reasonable means to effect his escape, even to the extent of using such force as is reasonably necessary”.

          However, this does not apply to an arrest based on a defective warrant that the arresting officer believed to be valid, nor does it extend to resisting an unlawful Terry stop or an unlawful frisk.

    thetaqjr in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    The contrapositive of the If …, then.. using “lawful” in place of “unlawful” would read:

    ‘If the reasonable officer saw a threat, then the arrest would be unlawful.’

    I think “unlawful” is correct.

    Check:

    With “unlawful”, as the sentence was written, the contrapositive would read:

    If a reasonable officer saw a threat, then the arrest would be lawful. Which is a reasonable proposition.

NotEnoughSand | May 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

Grey had a natural and constitutional right to carry the knife, regardless of any laws or ordinances to the contrary. An arrest based on a flagrant violation of the constitution can never be considered lawful.

    Perhaps it “shouldn’t” but it certainly “CAN.”

    If you think it “CAN’T” walk around Baltimore waving a spring-assisted knife, and see what happens.

    Make sure they buckle you in, though. 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ragspierre in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 9:08 am

      …AFTER being convicted of at least one felony…

      NotEnoughSand in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 9:54 am

      I’d have to imagine that I’d be arrested, but the question is whether the arrest would be lawful. The words “shall not be infringed” answer that question dispositively.

        Only in your head, the way you WISH the world were.

        In the real world, people are convicted on the basis of laws that infringe the Second Amendment all the time, and many of them spend a great many years in prison.

        But that’s only in the real world.

        So no biggie, I guess.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Midwest Rhino in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 10:59 am

          I’m just wondering if using the word “unconstitutional” law might make his point better. Obviously we get laws that many don’t believe are constitutional, but until they are corrected in the courts they are real law in practice.

          Not being a lawyer, I tend to go with the weaker “it doesn’t seem constitutional”, for laws like that. But for a ten time loser, things change, so this seems legal AND constitutional.

    MattMusson in reply to NotEnoughSand. | May 5, 2015 at 9:18 am

    People get arrested everyday for carrying knives. While we can argue constitutionality – determining that is not the beat cops job.

    Looks like this invalidates the entire false arrest, kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment meme.

      Paul in reply to MattMusson. | May 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Yeah, but that won’t matter to the Prog Borg. The narrative has been established.

        Ragspierre in reply to Paul. | May 5, 2015 at 10:06 am

        Speaking of “narratives”, see if you can find a clip of “Tiffany”…Baltimoron who witnessed a policeman shooting a fleeing suspect in the back.

        That never happened. Fox got its lil’ fluffy tail caught in the door there, too.

        The net effect will be to weaken “the narrative”, since we’ve seen how terribly weak and false those can be.

          inspectorudy in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

          I watched that segment and commented to my wife that the woman in question didn’t sound credible and that Shepherd Smith should vet her comment before going with it. Not five minutes later it was discovered that she was a member of the “Hands up don’t shoot” crowd and was lying through both of her teeth. I do not think FNC should be blamed for the failure of their one and only truly liberal anchor Shepherd Smith. He and Geraldo are cut from the same cloth and belong at cnn or msnbc. I do not think any other anchor at Fox would have run with that story because of it explosive nature considering the recent events. FNC will feel the effects of this mistake but I think they try to be better than this normally.

          Maryanne in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

          Fox News immediately caught the error and apologized profusely. When someone recognizes an error and moves to address that, there is no rationale for you to criticize them.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm

          http://popist.com/s/3658984/

          How’s it feel to be punkd, you stupid down-thumbing trolls?

          Get how Tiffany has to fight back tears as she describes the awful scene of the “Caucasian police gunning the young black boy down”.

          I LOVE knowing you idiots are out there, and I have a small part in eating holes in your guts!

          playerpiano in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 12:33 am

          Lets talk about the most grand of all false narratives that has wasted millions of tax payers money to no avail. Fox news no longer covers it because they know they’re wrong, and even when interviewing the republican man who proved them wrong through his investigation, they never once brought up the subject. After talking about it for two years in over 1,100 segments they were suddenly silent because they were wrong, and they knew their viewers wouldn’t find out if Fox new didn’t tell them. They have never once apologized for the conspiracy theory nonsense they spewed dividing the country even further. The fringe is still convinced this is real regardless of the facts given to them by their elected officials. The fact that Fox refused to cover the truth after the investigation was completed because it went against their Benghazi narrative speaks volumes about their integrity as a so called news organization. So ok, you have a random dumb ass chick lying about a cop shooting a man in the back. I have an entire media outlet that is the the pillar of the right wing spinning a false narrative for two years and never being held accountable for it. Who would you say you expect more from?

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 2:55 am

          Can you please add some context to your incoherent babbling? To which grand right wing conspiracy (i.e. liberal wet dream fantasy)do you refer?

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 6:45 am

          playedpiano…

          Nice attempt at a deflection, there, bung-sucker.

          But also, check out the polling on Benghazi; Americans are STILL interested in learning the truth, and know they’ve been lied to repeatedly and variously.

          Who by? Well, Ol’ Walleyes Clinton, for one. You know you can trust HER, right? The lady with the private emails AND private server.

          That she destroyed. But you stay attached to that bung like a good Collectivist rectal ramora.

          Oh, I have a new term for the likes of “Tiffany”, the narrative creator: Street Goebbels. Fits, huh…???

          Deodorant in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 9:31 am

          Yes, that kind of thing can happen. Fro instance, Gov. Abbott could pickup on the insanity of believing that a military exercise was instead a take-over of the state of Texas. He could then overreact, cause the story to be blown up even bigger and call out the National Guard. I could also say he added credibility, but he didn’t. He just embarrassed himself and the state that would elect him.

          You, as a lawyer, might also want to consider that usually the effect of false witnesses is to incarcerate an innocent person. 150 have been exonerated while on death row because of DNA. It might make you wonder about thousands of cases where there wasn’t any DNA.

          It might outrage you. As a lawyer, you might want to do something about it. Nah! It doesn’t affect you personally and besides it would interfere with your ideology. Get the appellate courts out of the way. Pull the damn switch!

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 10:23 am

          You are such a stupid, lying sack of shit, d’Oderant.

          Witness, Gov. Abbot DID NOT have the Texas National Guard observe ANYTHING.

          He DID ask the https://txmf.us/texas-state-guard to observe the exercises in response to whole communities of concerned citizens in Texas. If you MANAGE to read the mission of the Texas State Guard, you’ll see this is totally consistent with what they do.

          IF…and that’s a big IF…you weren’t such a hateful, happy-to-wallow-in-your-ignorance phuc, you would read how Conservatives and some libertarians are pushing through criminal law reforms. But you won’t.

          Show some support for your asinine bullshit about ANYBODY being in favor of keeping innocent people on death row. Now.

          Now address the number of people who have been saved by the death penalty in the U.S. over our history. Oh, dear. Never thought of that, huh?

          All you manage to do is show how to republish moonbattery Lie-0-tron hate. You haven’t an original idea in your crap-packed skull.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | May 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

          @Deodorant

          Having participated in numerous military exercises I can tell you that it is standard operating procedure to have representatives of the state guard on hand to observe, just as we do by having representatives of the military of a foreign country when we have exercises in their sovereign territory.

          For that to happen with the guard it generally takes an order from the Governor. He did not “mobilize” the guard as was reported. What happened here is that some reporter who knew little and thought less tried to create a gotcha moment and ignorant boobs like you took it and ran with it.

      dorsaighost in reply to MattMusson. | May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Bingo, the “probable” illegal knife means that half the charges go away at the first judicial hearing … overcharged, no convictions to follow and more riots to follow like the moon follows the sun …

        MattMusson in reply to dorsaighost. | May 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm

        New Charges could result. Since the prosecutor charged the officers herself instead of passing it off through the system – She may be guilty of the same thing she charged the officers with: False Imprisonment.

      luigi60 in reply to MattMusson. | May 5, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      In a court of law there is no room for ambiguity. Your point is weak. A spring assist knife is in an at rest state when the blade is folded and closed inside the handle of the knife. The slight pressure caused by the spring and the stub at the base of the blade is utilized to open the blade with one hand while the other hand is occupied . In a switch blade the blade is never at rest because spring tension is used to fully open the blade with great speed. A button is depressed to release the stored energy of the spring and the blade opens.
      Here is a text book comparison.

      What is the difference between a switchblade and a spring assisted opening knife?
      All switchblades have some characteristics in common. They have a spring which exerts constant pressure on the blade. The knife is held in the closed position by the mechanism of the knife. This mechanism is released by depressing the button (which all switchblades have), allowing the stored energy the spring is exerting on the blade to propel the blade from the handle and open the knife. It is important to remember that the natural position of the switchblade knife is OPEN, it is held closed only by the locking mechanism.

      On the other hand, the natural position of the spring assisted opening knife is CLOSED. There is no pressure being exerted upon the blade, and there is no button to push. Spring assisted knives employ the following opening methods:

      1) A “Flipper” or lever which is located on the back spine of the knife. This flipper is actually an integral part of the blade which protrudes from the back spine of the knife when it is in the closed position. This is the most common opening mechanism of spring assisted knives.

      2). A thumb stud, the same as is found on most all tactical folding knives.

        Ragspierre in reply to luigi60. | May 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        “In a court of law there is no room for ambiguity.”

        YOU are TOO funny, luigi…!!! You have my sides aching! Excellent dead-pan.

        “In a court of law there is no room for ambiguity.”

        Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

        Oh, my stomach. 🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        dckubler in reply to luigi60. | May 5, 2015 at 10:21 pm

        Your description of a spring-assisted knife is faulty. When the blade is closed the spring exerts a strong pressure on the blade. The clever design has 51% of the spring force applied to closing the blade and 49% of the spring force applied to opening the blade. Pushing the thumb lever pushes the blade past the tipping point in favor of the opening forces. The leverage quickly changes and all the spring force opens the blade as quickly and forcefully as a switchblade.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to dckubler. | May 5, 2015 at 10:47 pm

          Now please correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t both examples of a “spring” assisting the blade to open? Even if it is only 49% of the potential energy in the spring.

          The ordinance doesn’t specify how much of the springs potential energy has to go towards opening the blade only that the blade can’t be “spring assisted”.

          ceasar in reply to dckubler. | May 6, 2015 at 7:25 pm

          Baltimore bans a knife with an “automatic spring” which most would define as a knife that fully opens with a push of a triggering mechanism. They do not ban spring assisted knives. Almost every folding knife made has some degree of spring assist. If the knife requires a secondary action to fully open, no matter how slight, it is not automatic. It is disturbing that the Baltimore Police Task force has defined the knife as “spring assisted” and therefore illegal. If they said that it had an “automatic spring” there would be no problem. But that is not what they said. You can not have it both ways. The knife is either automatic and therefore illegal or spring assisted and legal.

        thetaqjr in reply to luigi60. | May 6, 2015 at 6:42 pm

        L-

        Whoever is carrying that loaded springBlade in his front pocket better damn well hope the blade is at rest. If it’s not, he is unambiguously gon’ need stitching up by an obverse proctologist-urineologist -and-surgeon.

        Get Billy Bob Thornton: SpringBlade!

    Mac45 in reply to NotEnoughSand. | May 5, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I agree that under the wording of the 2nd Amendment as applied to the states under the 14th Amendment, no law can be passed which would regulate the ownership and possession of weapons. However, the highest court in the land, in the spirit of judicial activism has seem fit to amend the 2nd Amendment to include the words, “except for reasonable restrictions thereon”.

    The reality is that natural and constitutional mean nothing today.

      Ragspierre in reply to Mac45. | May 5, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Rights are not licenses, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly.

      The Founders would not tell you that they EVER contemplated that any of the Bill Of Rights was intended to grant anybody a absolute, unmitigated right (or license) to do anything. They weren’t silly people.

      Now, we can point out that…in the contest between meanings and between public safety and individual right…some of the Bill Of Rights have been too diluted. That’s cool.

      But NOBODY ever intended that your right to free speech, for instance, should include defamation or publication of state secrets.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm

        Exercise of a “right” doesn’t intentionally or negligently harm (or threaten to harm) the rights of any innocent parties. As soon as you start talking about harm to others, you’re talking about crimes and negligence, and nobody has a right to commit acts that fall into either category. “Punishment” is reserved for “crimes,” and no exercise of a right can ever fall into that category, because the term doesn’t include acts that intentionally or negligently harm anyone innocent. There is no need to regulate or criminalize acts that might be claimed as “rights” because, by definition, no harm and no public safety concern arises from them. When the state criminalizes acts that aren’t intrinsically criminal, it punishes people not for harming others, but for defying the state.

        So, did the founders intend to grant anybody an “absolute, unmitigated right to do anything”? They didn’t. But because the exercise of a right doesn’t harm any innocent parties and causes no hazard to public safety, they certainly didn’t contemplate government authority to regulate or criminalize the exercise of any right (and the preamble to the Bill of Rights backs up this statement) because such acts don’t require punishment or regulation. The founders believed they had created a government that would be restricted to punishing crimes and negligent acts, and expressly (in the aforementioned preamble) stated that government had no authority to break into, regulate, diminish, infringe upon, abrogate, criminalize, or suspend any right (except habeas corpus, and only under particular circumstances). Any act that does harm to innocent parties or causes a public safety hazard (negligent acts) can be criminalized or regulated because it isn’t a right. For instance, the release of state secrets arguably damages the security of the nation, and puts at risk the lives and safety of the every citizen, so it does harm, therefore the right to free speech does not include such an act.

        Similarly, you do not have the right to shout “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater if your intention is to cause a panic and injuries. Shouting “fire” in this case is not an abuse of the right to free speech, it is just a crime. People almost always make the mistake of conflating the two and declare that the exercise of a right (or its abuse) can cause intentional harm to innocent parties. This is simply not so. The permitless carry of a concealed handgun is a right, and by itself presents no threat to public safety. A threat to public safety may arise if the handgun carrier draws his weapon and threatens harm to innocent people. In this case, the carrier has transitioned from exercising a right to committing a crime. Why does the government feel compelled to regulate the right when it already has the authority to punish the crime? Criminal acts are generally already punishable by law, there is no need to regulate the exercise of rights – the presumption that someone’s exercise of a right is a prelude to an actual criminal act is a presumption the government should not be allowed to make.

        “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
        George Washington

          Ragspierre in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm

          Well, that’s very tidy…to the point of being overly simplistic…but I generally agree.

          I don’t agree that Freddie (a felon) had the same rights to carry a weapon as a citizen in good standing, however, if that was your point.

          “But because the exercise of a right doesn’t harm any innocent parties and causes no hazard to public safety…”

          Ergo, perhaps we can agree that my being armed with an anti-tank missile, while not having killed, injured or damaged anyone, would poses a sufficient “…hazard to public safety…” that, on balance, we could agree that it was OK to deny my “right” to that particular arm?

          Or that felonious Freddie might be denied the right to any arm?

          “…they certainly didn’t contemplate government authority to regulate or criminalize the exercise of any right (and the preamble to the Bill of Rights backs up this statement) because such acts don’t require punishment or regulation.”

          Here, you lost me. I read pretty well, but I don’t see the meaning in the preamble you ascribe. Not being snarky. If you have a point there, I need you to elucidate.

          Ragspierre in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 5, 2015 at 5:19 pm

          We’d have to agree, I hope, that “rights” was not a set, pat issue, either.

          It wasn’t. As early as 1686, New Jersey enacted a law against wearing weapons because they induced “great Fear and Quarrels.” Massachusetts followed in 1750. As you can see, these pre-date the Constitution.

          thetaqjr in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 6, 2015 at 6:54 pm

          In the same context, is drunk driving intrinsically harmful? I know that I drive better drunk than lots of old ladies and old men I observe. I’m an old man, by the way, and I no longer drink alcohol.

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        It is also lost in the mix that rights being an invaluable part of personal freedom, must also be balanced by personal responsibility.

        In other words yes you have the right to carry a gun, however, you must take responsibility for your use of that gun and any harm that comes from its use. Just having a right doesn’t relieve you of the responsibility if you misuse that right.

    CharlieMack in reply to NotEnoughSand. | May 5, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    There is a difference between unlawful and unconstitutional. Unlawful suggests that the police are violating the law. They are not. They are enforcing the law. Unconstitutional means that the law violates a citizens rights. Lawyers and the judicial system can argue about that in court. Cops on the beat are not required to interpret the constitution when enforcing a law.

      bookerthooker in reply to CharlieMack. | May 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      And this arrest was indeed unlawful since Freddie’s knife wasn’t a switch blade. Anyone claiming otherwise has obviously never held a switchblade. This whole ordeal with the knife is a bunch of rhetoric made by TV lawyers that pander to idiots like you.

      Regardless, the officer’s lied on their report and blamed Freddie for his own death. Yes, Freddie ran (not illegal) giving the officer’s reasonable suspicion to purse him for a terry stop, however a terry stop is used to determine if there is probable cause to make an arrest on the basis that Freddie had broken a law or was to break the law.

      Technically, Freddie could have killed the officer’s if he wanted to.

      ““Citizens may resist unlawful arrest to the point of taking an arresting officer’s life if necessary.” Plummer v. State, 136 Ind. 306. This premise was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case: John Bad Elk v. U.S., 177 U.S. 529.”

      “When a person, being without fault, is in a place where he has a right to be, is violently assaulted, he may, without retreating, repel by force, and if, in the reasonable exercise of his right of self defense, his assailant is killed, he is justified.” Runyan v. State, 57 Ind. 80; Miller v. State, 74 Ind. 1.”

      “These principles apply as well to an officer attempting to make an arrest, who abuses his authority and transcends the bounds thereof by the use of unnecessary force and violence, as they do to a private individual who unlawfully uses such force and violence.” Jones v. State, 26 Tex. App. I; Beaverts v. State, 4 Tex. App. 1 75; Skidmore v. State, 43 Tex. 93, 903.”

        Milhouse in reply to bookerthooker. | May 6, 2015 at 11:03 am

        Did you see the city law as quoted in the article? Baltimore bans “any knife with an automatic spring”. Did this knife have an automatic spring? According to the police task force, yes, it did. Therefore it falls foul of this city law, and the arrest was valid. The law may be unconstitutional and therefore not really a law at all, but policemen aren’t expected to know that, and therefore can’t be guilty of a crime for enforcing it as written.

        And no, he could not have killed the officers. You should be aware that John Bad Elk and the other cases you cite are no longer valid law in most of the USA. Maryland is one of the few states that still does recognise a limited right to resist unlawful arrest, but it does not recognise a right to resist an unlawful Terry stop or an unlawful frisking, so even if Gray’s arrest were unlawful his right to resist it would only have begun when he was arrested for the knife.

        More to the point, MD does not recognise a right to violently resist an arrest on a defective warrant, because the arresting officer can’t be expected to know about the defect. The same rule would apply here: even if the knife were actually legal, and thus the arrest unlawful, the arresting officer couldn’t be expected to know that, and therefore Gray would have no right to resist violently.

        Gunstar1 in reply to bookerthooker. | May 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

        As has been stated in other ways, it is not what you think is lawful or unlawful which allows you to resist arrest. It is the reasonableness of the officer’s opinion on the matter.

        You can be right that it was a unlawful arrest, but if it wasn’t unreasonable for the officer to come to a different conclusion, the arrest itself is lawful and any resistance to that arrest is unlawful.

    charrenee in reply to NotEnoughSand. | May 5, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Some People would also argue it’s a constitutional right to carry a gun that is not registered. that doesn’t make it legal

      Another Ed in reply to charrenee. | May 6, 2015 at 12:48 am

      Not all states require that there be written notification to state government of a transfer of possession of a weapon. Not all states require that you notify the state government of the manufacturer and serial number of a firearm that you choose to carry. The Federal government does require that there be a record maintained in a bound book for all transfers of possession to and from holder of a Federal Firearms License.

      In Haines vs. United States (1968), convicted felons are not required to register their firearms with government because of 5th Amendment protection of their right not to self-incriminate.

      http://www.usacarry.com/forums/general-firearm-discussion/34965-felons-don-t-have-register-guns-under-fifth-amendment.html

    Maryanne in reply to NotEnoughSand. | May 5, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    What is a ‘natural’ right?

      platypus in reply to Maryanne. | May 6, 2015 at 1:05 am

      It is what the Creator has endowed you with. You were born with it, or more precisely you were created with it.

      thetaqjr in reply to Maryanne. | May 6, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Maryanne, read John Locke’s ” An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of Civil Government”. Or, more briefly, “Concerning Civil Government”. Fewer than 100 pages in Volume 35 of The Great Books.

Ragspierre | May 5, 2015 at 9:01 am

Some of the very few people praising Miss Marilyn have used terms like “bold” and “novel” in describing her legal approach.

Those are NOT terms I want used to describe a prosecutor anywhere in my jurisdiction. They suggest someone who’s making it up as she goes, and playing to politics.

Which, of course, is exactly what we have.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 10:46 am

    They also call her “badass”, which I guess means she’s cool and sexy.

      platypus in reply to Char Char Binks. | May 6, 2015 at 1:07 am

      Sexy? Where the f did that come from? There is a certain subset of the female gender who might find her sexy but that’s about it. Normal males, not a chance.

    inspectorudy in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Rags, you are one hundred percent correct! There are a few jobs in our society that you want a plodding unbiased person in that position. The last thing that we would want in a prosecutor is an activist or a corner cutter. This woman is obviously both. She has already made several mistakes, addresses of the charged cops wrong on the affidavit and the knife issue, means that she is rushing to judgement and not carefully reviewing all of the evidence. From here she has only how badly she will fail to look forward to.

      ConradCA in reply to inspectorudy. | May 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      I read that she charged the wrong officers.

      bookerthooker in reply to inspectorudy. | May 5, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Why have you completely ignoring the fact that her mother and father were both cops and that her family has served law enforcement the past five generations?

      Oh wait, I know… you didn’t bother to research her yourself.

        bookerthooker in reply to bookerthooker. | May 5, 2015 at 11:09 pm

        ignored*

        Gremlin1974 in reply to bookerthooker. | May 5, 2015 at 11:25 pm

        I ignore it because it is irrelevant and not material to the discussion. Nor does it make her actions more correct or give insight to her own thoughts and views. So her parents were cops or what not, does that mean she can’t be a bigoted liberal?

        I have a great great uncle that was an SS Colonel and come from a family, extended not immediate, with strong ties to the KKK. So does that mean I am proud of my great great uncle or think my extended family doesn’t contain racist morons?

        I hope she is proud of her family and her families history. It doesn’t mean she can be boneheaded.

        Milhouse in reply to bookerthooker. | May 6, 2015 at 11:09 am

        Her awful statements on the Zimmerman case are enough to show her contempt for the rule of law.

Tennessean | May 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

This is such a great article and argument, I implore Andrew Branca to go back and EDIT PLEASE. There are so many misstatements, it’s misleading as well as annoying to try to read while having to mentally correct for the misstatements.

For Example: “Thus Mosby’s claim” paragraph should read “lawful” not “unlawful.” Mosby claimed the knife was lawful not “unlawful.” She claimed the ARREST was unlawful, and the knife was lawful; Branca reverses the facts here and elsewhere.

There are other misstatements as well, too many to mention in one comment. Please go back and re-check your assertions, because you are misleading and confusing readers.

Your argument is too important not to have been more careful; serious attention to detail, please!

    I believe any such errors were fixed within minutes of the post going live.

    Constructive criticism is always appreciated, particularly when gracefully offered. Specific errors that are pointed out are fixed promptly.

    In order to be constructive, however, the criticism must be specific.

    Generalized unspecific criticism is merely noise, and is likely to be treated as such. When it’s offered in a rude manner it is simply discounted out of hand.

    You are of course entitled to produce your own posts on any subject and suggest them to Professor Jacobson or to any other blog–or, even better, start your own blog. I expect it will be an enlightening experience.

    Have a nice day! 🙂

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    dorsaighost in reply to Tennessean. | May 5, 2015 at 9:51 am

    if you are confused then nothing done to “correct” the article will help … as the saying goes you can’t fix stupid … troll …

Evidently, Mosby’s charge documents also got the names of at least two defendants wrong!

SMH

From Twitchy:

“But this isn’t the only issue to pop up. It seems that Mosby’s office listed the wrong people in the arrest documents, leading to embarrassing calls from the media.”

Whether the knife is lawful in Maryland is irrelevant. The mope was charged under Baltimore law. Their knife statute is very badly written. It bans any knife with an “automatic spring.” What the hell is an automatic spring? My switchblade requires me to push a button, so it’s not automatic, but my Scout knife has a liner lock which locks the blade automatically. Huh?

I suspect that almost anyone could win against that law at the appellate level. It is too badly written. Conversely, I don’t think anyone could be justly convicted of false arrest under that statute, for the same reason. Whatever cops are supposed to be, appeals court judges is not one of them.

Give the gal a break. She had only been on the job three months. Why do you think the profession is referred to as the “Practice of Law.”

She be “practicing.”

    walls in reply to Redneck Law. | May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

    She’s a Marcia Clark wannabe … dreaming of future TV gigs on HLN, MSNBC, etc.

      ConradCA in reply to walls. | May 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      If she bags the cops there is no limit to the rewards that the progressive fascists (Dems) will reward her with.

    Ragspierre in reply to Redneck Law. | May 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    She needs to be “practicing” the Rules Of Professional Responsibility.

    She broke at least two really badly in her presser.

    She should be given some time off to refresh her ethics.

    Maryanne in reply to Redneck Law. | May 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    She has been practicing at least 7 years. Some of that time was in a government capacity. She is young and inexperienced; that is for sure. The young black crowd loved her. So did the throngs following Jesus on Palm Sunday. 5 days later they killed him.

      platypus in reply to Maryanne. | May 6, 2015 at 1:19 am

      Nice. There’s something about Christ that just pulls every situation into proper perspective. Thanks for mentioning it on this thread where perspective is sorely needed. From Christ’s death, millions have been given hope. From Gray’s death, well … we’re still counting the costs.

Humphrey's Executor | May 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

I find Mosby’s statement (that the knife was legal under “Maryland Law”) troubling, to put it mildly, when the Statement of Charges against Grey cites the applicable Baltimore City Code section he is alleged to have violated.

    dorsaighost in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | May 5, 2015 at 9:53 am

    just another “police acted stupidly” moment I guess … which will be walked back at some point … maybe even a beer summit in the future …

    Sammy Finkelman in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | May 5, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    It looks like something I actually suspected, but didn’t want to accept – somebody connected with or advising Mosby distorted the law.

    I was suspecting that perhaps there was some appeals court decision that modified the law, or made it questionable, and even that her office was using in all cases, different criteria for what kinds of knives are illegal than the Baltimore police, and dropping charges where it didn’t match its criteria, but hadn’t publicized that much, or at all, but that still would very unfair to the officers.

    I’m still not sure which is the case: Was there a deliberate distortion of the meaning of the law in the charges, or is the State’s Attorney’s office using its own definition of the law and pretending everybody knows it when they don’t?

    The fact that Maryland law is referred to and not the Baltimore City code and the fact that they got identifying data for two of the accused wrong or, in at least one case, mixed up with that of another person makes it look more like there was a deliberate distortion here

Bruce Hayden | May 5, 2015 at 9:53 am

AB has hit it here. I need to reread the charges, but a lot of them go “poof” with this. The prosecutor will not be able to argue lack of probable cause or illegal arrest in court.

    Bruce Hayden in reply to Bruce Hayden. | May 5, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Let me rephrase that – the state prosecutor will not be able to plausibly argue lack of probable cause or illegal arrest in court.

      “as a Baltimore Police Department Task Force has determined conclusively”
      It seems that what we have is a strong indication, to those of us who usually believe the police, that the prosecution will have a tough time getting credible admissible evidence to support its contention that the knife is legal, in fact so clearly legal that no on the street cop could have reasonably thought that the knife was illegal.
      I suppose that both Mosby’s statement about the knife’s legality and the Task Force’s statement about the knife’s illegality are inadmissible on that issue.
      If I am wrong, I’m confident someone here will straighten me out.

        Ragspierre in reply to Rick. | May 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

        Well, yes and no. Mosby won’t be offering her opinion, or “her office’s” opinion.

        Neither will the Task Force.

        Both would call people they can qualify as experts, and develop from their testimony whatever they can WRT the knife.

        Here, you’ve got a jump ball, which seems to lead conclusively to “not guilty” when we start from “innocent until proven…”

        Much more probably, you see a dismissal of all charges relating to the arrest and the knife. Any conviction would almost certainly be reversed on appeal.

        Bruce Hayden in reply to Rick. | May 5, 2015 at 11:59 am

        The prosecutor’s statement is really irrelevant. The task force, by stating that they believed that the knife was illegal under Baltimore law, provided probable cause for the arrest. What is important is that the cops had a reasonable belief in the illegality of the knife for the arrest. And, that has to be disproven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecutor – which is going to be quite hard for the prosecution, given the task force opining that it was illegal. The prosecution would essentially have to prove that the arrested officers were more knowledgeable in this area than the senior officers on the task force, didn’t believe that the knife was illegal, but arrested Gray anyway. Whether or not the knife was actually illegal, the task force opining that it was illegal gives the officers all the cover they need for the probable cause they needed for the arrest.

        I seem to be going round in circles, and have to figure that AB did a better job at explaining this above.

      Sammy Finkelman in reply to Bruce Hayden. | May 5, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Well, the charges actually seem to be that the knife was not discovered till after Freddie Gray was handcuffed. Now handcuffing someone is surely arresting someone, and what were the grounds for that?

      Were they going to press some other charges that never got listed because they discovered the knife, and that was a much better charge, and there is almost no 4th amendment suppression of evidence for weapons so why not just mention the knife?

        sequester in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 5, 2015 at 4:12 pm

        Given reasonable suspicion the police had every right to briefly detain, question and search Gray. This has been settled and standard police procedure for nearly 50 years since Terry vs Ohio. When officer safety is involved a person being detained may be handcuffed.

        Gray because he refused to stop and to obey lawful commands to stop met all the criteria to detained and arrested. Gray could have easily challenged the Terry stop walking slowly and simply saying to officers, “I need to leave, am I free to go?”

        I strongly suggest that if a police officer ever orders you to stop — you do just that. Immediately.

        the arresting police had seen a drug deal going down. Two men ran and one was Freddy Gray.

        There is a lot more to this story and we do not have all of the facts.

          platypus in reply to Aussie. | May 6, 2015 at 1:26 am

          Do you suppose that our lack of known facts is deliberate? I do, because the donkey party is not going to give us what we could use to harm their idiot mouthpiece. Lots of people are trashing her but it is all based on conjecture because we lack all the currently known facts.

        Milhouse in reply to Sammy Finkelman. | May 6, 2015 at 11:22 am

        He was handcuffed for the Terry stop and frisk, which all agree was lawful. (Interestingly, according to the MD court decision I cited earlier, while in MD it is still lawful to resist an unlawful arrest, it is not lawful to resist an unlawful Terry stop or an unlawful frisking.)

    Milhouse in reply to Bruce Hayden. | May 6, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Not a lot of them. Only the arresting officer was charged with false imprisonment, and only that charge goes away. The others were never charged with it, because even Moseby couldn’t pretend they were supposed to independently examine the grounds for the arrest. They were entitled to trust their fellow officer to have made a good arrest, and it wouldn’t have been their fault if he got it wrong (which we now see he didn’t).

Henry Hawkins | May 5, 2015 at 10:03 am

Mosby knows the charges are bullshit, but also knows the case will get moved out of Baltimore to a new venue – and a new prosecutor, who’ll know the joy of trying to explain why the charges are being dropped. Mosby’s ‘bold’ superfast prosecution announcement quieted the unrest, while the eventual reduction or drop of charges will fall to another jurisdiction, after which Mosby can say, “well, I tried, but I can’t control what ____________ decides.” Pure politics and poisoning the judicial system to accomplish it.

    Twanger in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Henry – That is exactly how I read this going down.

    And why not? It gives the, er, protesters another shot at free toilet tissue and wide-screen TV’s.

Last night I heard that Mosby’s indictment actually had the wrong names, phone numbers and addresses for two of the six officers. I understand the source is “Wicomico County, MD Sheriff Mike Lewis” who made an appearance on Fox News. So two innocent people were sought by the media for having been falsely charged in the actual indictment. Sloppy much?

Char Char Binks | May 5, 2015 at 10:44 am

There were still 6 unlawful arrests in this case.

    Ragspierre in reply to Char Char Binks. | May 5, 2015 at 10:55 am

    THAT is really a VERY good point.

    Compare and contrast the conduct of the LEOs with that of the PA.

    As between the two, which is really charging outside the law (and, yeh, see what I did there?)?

    The LEOs can make a mistake of fact OR law (or both) in an arrest, and still be “not criminals”. They are NOT allowed to arrest where there is NO law, however.

    What has Miss Marilyn done BUT that? Isn’t this where she’s being “bold and novel”?

    charrenee in reply to Char Char Binks. | May 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Arresting someone is not based on majority of unlawful VS lawful. He ran from cops(2) and carried a illegal knife(2)

    Gunstar1 in reply to Char Char Binks. | May 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks to prosecutorial immunity, there is no reason for her not to charge them.

All hail the new heroine of the Legal Left, who put her law license on the line to quell the riots and destruction, with improper, non-factual and ethically challenged charges!

Hail! Hail!

This whole thing looked like a fake right from Mosby’s press announcement.

She spoke quite a bit about “justice”, but “law”, not much. And coming from a prosecutor, that said to me that these were fantasy charges, a temporary expedient intended solely to mollify the mob.

If so, the details don’t matter at all. If none of the charges are meant to stick but are merely for show, it doesn’t matter that they’re not sound or sensible.

So possibly she’s not as dumb as she seems, and tried something moderately original in order to spoil the mob’s timing. (I’m not saying that that would be a good tactic, only that it might be a useful tactic.)

Or maybe she’s just another useless Affirmative Action jerk.

Hard to tell at this stage.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that the first knife in the above video is not a spring-assisted knife, since the user’s finger has to apply force to the blade protrusion through the entire opening cycle. It is an assisted-opening knife, but not spring-assisted.

An example of a spring-assisted knife is the Benchmade Apparition, model BM-670. (I know it’s spring-assisted because I have one.) The following one-minute video shows how it works.

http://youtu.be/0mUN1-FrgJQ

The user moves the thumb ramp only a fraction of an inch, and then the spring does the rest. With the volume turned up you can hear and see that the knife appears to be a switchblade when it opens.

Does anyone know if anyone has ever been convicted or pled guilty on charges of possession of a (non-switchblade) spring assisted knife under the Baltimore code?

Very telling how this Maryland prosecutor is being attacked here. I don’t recall any such attack on Maryland prosecutor Anne Colt Leitess.

    Ragspierre in reply to m1. | May 5, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    What is it “telling”?

    Why don’t you link to your moonbattery source for whatever bullshit you are suggesting here (cryptically), so we at least have some idea WTF you are trolling about here?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to m1. | May 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Actually no one has attacked her. They have stated disagreement with her actions and process and have made speculations on her motivations, which is something the left does constantly. The difference is with the left they become fact the moment they create sound waves, for us we require proof.

    Milhouse in reply to m1. | May 6, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Um, who is that, and why would you expect her to be attacked?

An interesting theory and clearly one with its supporters. Freddie Gray died as a result of his arrest. Even Manuel Noriega was treated decently.

    Ragspierre in reply to KatieT. | May 5, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    “Freddie Gray died as a result of his arrest.”

    No he didn’t. Prove me wrong. (See, there just isn’t anything yet to support that.)

      bookerthooker in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Had he not been unlawfully arrested, he wouldn’t have died. How fucking stupid are you? Why is that so hard to understand?

        Gremlin1974 in reply to bookerthooker. | May 5, 2015 at 11:28 pm

        As has been stated and supported here many times, it is extremely unlikely that his arrest was unlawful. Just because you choose to ignore facts does not make you case better.

        Oh and please watch your language and keep things civil, there is no reason for dropping F-bombs, unless that is the only thing you are intelligent enough to come up with.

        Ragspierre in reply to bookerthooker. | May 6, 2015 at 7:11 am

        Nope, Freddie died as a result of tripping and dislocating his cervical vertebrae, causing damage to his spinal cord that nobody knew about until too late.

        Now, you prove that isn’t what happened with the testimony of the medical experts and the evidence of the autopsy.

        (See, you can’t, because we don’t have any of that. Ya moron.)

        We just don’t know.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to KatieT. | May 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Actually Freddy Gray died while under arrest, not due to arrest. He was in what appeared to be good condition when put in the paddy wagon, by that time the arrest was over.

legalbeagle | May 5, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Andrew — I view the debate over legality of the knife as nothing more than a red herring.There are a myriad of other offenses that fully justify and provide probable cause for a custodial arrest of Mr. Gray.

The police had more than enough evidence to charge Mr. Gray with say “disorderly conduct” or “resisting arrest without violence”. Very likely, Mr. Gray could also have been charged with a simple misdemeanor assault. It sets a dangerous precedent to hold police officers criminally accountable if they fail to list a veritable dictionary of charges on the charge sheet.

Had Mr. Gray lived, his defense attorney would have been laughed out of Court if he/she raised “false imprisonment” charges or challenged probable cause. In New York City, where I am most familiar, the case very likely would have been pled out as a disorderly conduct offense.

healthguyfsu | May 5, 2015 at 1:53 pm

It’s almost as if the lawyer friend representing Gray’s family wrote the affidavit himself.

    “It’s almost as if the lawyer friend representing Gray’s family wrote the affidavit himself.”

    I don’t know about that, but I’m pretty sure ‘ol Billy Murphy wrote the bullet points for her press conference.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to healthguyfsu. | May 5, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I keep wondering about a rumor I heard in a news report on the radio that the ME had ruled Mr. Gray’s death an accident until he had a “meeting” with the prosecutor and some other individuals and right after the meeting he changed his findings to homicide.

    Think I will look into that one more.

[…] released picture of knife or other information that could help identify model and resolve dispute), Andrew Branca (Baltimore code bans “spring-assisted” weapons not banned under Maryland law; also, […]

Running from cops also makes it a lawful arrest. Maybe Mrs Mosby has never heard of the term resisting arrest?

    Milhouse in reply to charrenee. | May 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

    No, it doesn’t. He had every right to run. And how could he resist arrest if there were no grounds to arrest him in the first place?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to Milhouse. | May 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Sorry but you are just wrong. The moment he saw the cops and ran, especially if as has been reported the cops saw what they thought was a drug deal being committed by a known felon and drug dealer and in a “drug area” then they had every right to be suspicious and to pursue Mr. Gray and detain him. Especially since he was out on bail and/or probation due to the current charges he was facing, which requires immediate compliance with law enforcement, period.

      Why don’t you put Mr. Gary’s actions under as much scrutiny as you are attempting to do the cops? Answer: because you know you are being willfully ignorant and don’t want to admit it.

AB- a good part of your article seems to be spent excusing cops ignorance of the law. The law is what the law says not what some LEO wishes was reasonable. We citizens can’t use ignorance as an excuse even if we reasonably believe we were acting lawfully and those tasked with enforcing what we are required to comply with should not be awarded Mulligans for their ignorance.

    I don’t get to MAKE the rules, I’m just explaining how the rules work.

    Cops are tasked with making reasonable, not perfect, decisions. How to see how any other standard would work in the real world.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      MarkS in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 5, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      Point taken!

      Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 6, 2015 at 8:22 pm

      1) How was the frisk legal? I’ve yet to hear anything that explains why Freddy gray was searched to begin with. if Police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may also frisk him or her for weapons. Here they reasonably believed he was armed, but what gave them reasonable suspicion to believe he was dangerous? So far this question has yet to be answered.

      2) Your interpretation of the law is incorrect. It states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.” commonly known as a switch-blade knife is language of limitation. According to your interpretation of the law, if it take a regular swiss army pocket folding knife, and tie a string to the blade to help me open it because my nails aren’t long enough to fit into the groove, then suddenly my folding knife becomes an illegal switch blade knife? What if I had a novelty spring assisted butter knife, would the mere addition of spring assist magically transform it into a switchblade? Clearly, to be violative of the law, the blade must be commonly known as a switch-blade knife, as Mosby stated.

        1) Wrong.

        2) Wrong.

        🙂

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 12:39 am

          1) How is it wrong? Are you saying that terry v ohio and Arizona v. Johnson were overruled and that to proceed from a stop to a frisk, the police officers do not need reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed AND dangerous? Or are you saying that the specific and articulable facts that gave rise to reasonable suspicion that Mr. gray was dangerous have been made publicly available? If so what are they because so far i’ve only seen explanation for the stop.

          2) Are you saying that under the Baltimore city law, if it take a regular swiss army pocket folding knife, and tie a string to the blade to help me open it because my nails aren’t long enough to fit into the groove, then my folding knife does in fact becomes an illegal switch blade knife? How is this assertion wrong based on your interpretation? You want to explain how the rules work then explain? If I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why?

          Please, my criticism was very specific so hopefully you’ll be able to respond.

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 12:50 am

          Additionally in the previous article it was stated that “[even if] Mosby is correct (unlikely) that the knife was legal under Maryland state law…” Why was it unlikely that she was correct that the knife was legal under Maryland state law, assuming that it is in fact a spring assist blade…

          § 4-105 of MD’s penal code, titled “Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife” defines a prohibited switchblade as “a knife or a penknife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, commonly called a switchblade knife or a switchblade penknife;” If it’s true that it was a spring assist knife, then it is clearly NOT a blade that opens automatically, since spring assisted blades require manual manipulation of the blade to a partially opened position before the spring assist is triggered. So how did you come to the conclusion that it was unlikely that she was correct that the blade was legal under MD state law?

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 9:38 pm

          Your whole article is built on speculation:

          1) “Now, we can remove the word arguably from the above statement, as a Baltimore Police Department Task Force has determined conclusively that Gray’s knife was of the spring-assisted type, and that such spring-assisted knives fall within the scope of Baltimore code §59.22.”

          -Arent you speculating that the Baltimore Police Department Task Force has the proper interpretation of the law.

          2) “Mosby’s conclusion of lawfulness was under the irrelevant Maryland law, not the relevant Baltimore code.”

          -Arent you speculating that she didn’t also do an independent review of the legality of the knife under Baltimore law?

          3) you are also speculating that the search was also legal. If it wasn’t the knife goes away and so does probable cause.

          4) You are confusing illegal with criminal. Something can be illegal and at the same time not be criminal.

          No.

          No.

          No.

          Whatever. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Ajaf7. | May 7, 2015 at 6:35 am

        1: Because the knife wasn’t found during a frisk, it was clipped to his pocket and one of the cops noticed it. Which makes him a felon in possession of a possibly illegal blade.

        2: I just disagree, I think the law is broad enough that a spring assisted knife is pretty clearly covered or could be considered to be covered. Most laws are not written to be specific, especially when written by liberals to limit things they find “dangerous”.

          Ajaf7 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 1:03 pm

          Although you weren’t the person I was addressing the issue to, I will take your comments in turn.

          1) “Because the knife wasn’t found during a frisk, it was clipped to his pocket and one of the cops noticed it.” That is not true. A knife clip was noticed during the chase, how could the cop tell it was an illegal blade just by seeing the clip? A search was needed to actually access the knife. Going into someones pockets is a search. Indeed, the charging document states, “This officer noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket.” Now if the knife was inside the front right pants pocket, all he could have seen was the clip, and it’s highly unlikely he could have identified it as an illegal knife just by getting a brief glimpse of the clip in the midst of a chase.

          2) “Which makes him a felon in possession of a possibly illegal blade.” Please point to a law in MD that states that a felon can’t own a blade? While § 5-133 restricts the possession of a regulated firearm by felons, there is no corresponding section for knives. Moreover, the arresting officers needed to know that he was a felon before the arrest. So the felon part doesn’t really add anything to the discussion.

          3) “I just disagree, I think the law is broad enough that a spring assisted knife is pretty clearly covered or could be considered to be covered. Most laws are not written to be specific, especially when written by liberals to limit things they find “dangerous”?”

          a. If you are referring to the state law, are you suggesting that a spring assist blade actually does opens automatically and doesn’t require manual manipulation of the blade? if not then how is it covered

          b. If you are reefing to the ordinance then, if I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why?

          Ajaf7 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

          @Gremlin1974 For whatever reason, although I got an email notification of your comment it does not appear in the comments section for me to reply to. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch or if your comment is awaiting approval or something but I will attempt to reply here and hopeful you will see it:

          1) “This is just to naive to take seriously, I never said they could tell the knife was illegal. But you can certainly identify the butt of a knife sticking out of someones pocket, since all the clips I have seen attach at the side of the knife, if it was clipped to the inside of his pocket, which means the clip in the outside of his pocket any reasonable person could have identified it as a knife, even from a distance, it doesn’t take a Rocket Surgeon. ;-)”

          -For the purposes of the conversation, i’ll assume the officers account is true and that while in the midst of a chase, he saw and was able to identify what he believed to be a knife or knife clip in the pocket of Mr. gray.

          2) “Once again I never said it was illegal for him to have a knife, but when a felon is in possession of any weapon it is only prudent to secure that weapon for the officers safety. Especially when the felon in question is acting in a suspicious manner.”

          Reasonably prudent and legal are two different things. Under terry v Ohio and Arizona v. Johnson to legally proceed from a stop to a frisk/search, the police officers need reasonable suspicion that the person stopped is armed AND dangerous? Assuming that it’s true that they saw the knife, to search and secure it, they needed to also have reasonable suspicion based on specific and articulable facts that he was DANGEROUS. see. Arizona v. Johnson. Just because an officer has grounds to justify a stop, does not mean he has grounds to justify a frisk. Indeed, the requirements for a stop are much less stringent. To effectuate a stop all an officer needs is a particularized and objective basis for suspecting the particular person stopped is engaged in criminal activity. US. v Cortez, 449 U.S. 411. Moreover, the act that he is a felon is of little value. For example, securities fraud might be a felony, but does that make you dangerous? It’s not enough that he just have a weapon. If that were so then the standard for a search would just be reasonable suspicion that the person is armed.

          2) “Which if you had paid attention to things like facts and evidence it has been made clear that Mr. Gray was well known to at least some of the officers involved and was a well known dealer in the area. So they were very aware that Mr. Gray was a felon. So no points for you.”

          3) What facts in evidence state that he was known to these specific officers. I’ve only seen a hearsay statement by an unidentified source who doesn’t even say that he was known by those specific officers. Such evidence is inadmissible and of little value. Interestingly, you are confusing facts with claims. Just because someone claims something, doesn’t make it fact. That you would conflate the two, is very telling of your bias. I’ve yet to take a stance on the frisk, I merely stated that the facts to justify it are not readily available yet, some how you were able to come to a conclusion without these facts. If you have real evidence that the arresting officers knew mr grey and knew that he was a felon then please present them. Interestingly, they didn’t include those facts in the charging documents.

          4) “which I obviously wasn’t since I’ve never asserted that the knife was illegal under state law. Oh, by the way neither did the cops.” I only mentioned the state law for clarity since your post was ambitious and since I wrote on both.

          5) “From the code; “or other device for opening and/or closing the blade,” Regardless of if I agree with it or not, possibly yes, because it becomes a “device for opening and/or closing the knife”.” If the answer is only possibly yes and not definitely yes, then the article is wrong and it is not confirmed but merely possible.

          6) “Two problems with your argument regarding “switchblades” and the limiting language. One traditional switchblades the spring only helps open the knife and it must be closed manually by exerting force against the spring until the blade locks in place. Spring assisted knifes tend to help with both opening and closing the knife, usually slightly more so in closing.”

          It would be a very strained interpretation of this law for it to be interpreted such that a foldable butter knife with a string to transform into a switchblade. That being said, many switchblades DO in fact close automatically. All switchblades either open automatically or open and close automatically, and are therefore readily distinguishable.

          7) “Secondly, as far as the limiting language argument, well we know how much liberals pay attention to things like that don’t we? “Commonly known as a switchblade knife” vs , “shall not be infringed”. :-)”

          I’m not sure why you keep referencing liberals and conservatives. As far as I know I haven’t discussed my political affiliation once so i’m not sure why you’d assume I was a liberal?
          Moreover, “shall not be infringed” is not the language of limitation in the second amendment. However some people argue that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” is language of limitation. You are confusing language of limitation, an interpretive concept, with a prohibition.

          Prosecutor Mosby? Is that YOU?

          SO tiresome. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm

          @Ajaf7

          I have been experiencing that same issue, I will get an e-mail notification but then the related comment doesn’t appear in the comments section. Guess I need to send a notice to the Admin.

          If I misinterpreted your position then I apologize, but we all know that laws are somewhat malleable in their interpretation dependent upon the people currently in power.

          I do not claim to be a legal expert, I was a reserve deputy sheriff at one point, but that is the extent of my knowledge and that was years ago.

          As far as the discovery of the knife from what I have read the cops caught Mr. Gray, handcuffed him, then moved him to a seated position, it was at that point that the knife was noticed. I am betting that it slipped further out of its pocket. The knife is not the reason they pursued him, his suspicious behavior of seeing a cop and running is what caused them to pursue. Which in my mind is enough of a reason even if they hadn’t believed they were witnessing a drug deal.

          Also, since cops are allowed to make reasonable mistakes even if the knife wasn’t technically illegal, (which I would bet that others have been convicted under that same code for spring assisted knives), if the cop believed it met the criteria for being illegal then that is a reasonable error and in no way makes his arrest “illegal”.

          As far as my liberal comment, it wasn’t aimed at you, it was more aimed at the area, which tends to be typically liberal, which is why I presume that the city has this moronic code in the first place.

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 7:37 pm

          @Ajaf7

          Just as an aside, I can’t even find the comment that you answered, so yep there is a glitch somewhere.

          Ajaf7 in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 7, 2015 at 9:04 pm

          @ Gremlin1974

          Well now I can see your comment but I can’t reply directly to it, so i’m replying to one of you’re previous comment.

          1) “If I misinterpreted your position then I apologize, but we all know that laws are somewhat malleable in their interpretation dependent upon the people currently in power.”
          -no problem at all. This type of communication is ripe for misunderstanding. Legal interoperation is definitely subjective, I would probably submit that the officers mistake (assuming the knife was legal) was reasonable. But it’s hard to know since there is a huge gap in information. For all we know the prosecutor has some surveillance video that shows them planting the knife on them.(not saying that’s true, just stating that there is an information gap at the moment) I would be suspicious of any one who plants their stakes too quickly as the author of this article clearly did.

          2) “As far as the discovery of the knife from what I have read the cops caught Mr. Gray, handcuffed him, then moved him to a seated position, it was at that point that the knife was noticed.”
          -That’s very interesting, everything i’ve read says they spotted it during the chase. I have no reason to believe one narrative over the other, I think this just underscores how much bad information is out there.

          3) The knife is not the reason they pursued him, his suspicious behavior of seeing a cop and running is what caused them to pursue. Which in my mind is enough of a reason even if they hadn’t believed they were witnessing a drug deal.”
          -That was my understanding too. Supreme court precedent supports the position that unprovoked flight in a high crime area gives reasonable suspicion for the stop. Assuming that’s what happened, the stop would be legal. I never questioned that, I merely questioned the search that followed.

          4) “Also, since cops are allowed to make reasonable mistakes even if the knife wasn’t technically illegal, (which I would bet that others have been convicted under that same code for spring assisted knives), if the cop believed it met the criteria for being illegal then that is a reasonable error and in no way makes his arrest “illegal”.”
          -I’m hearing you and I understand that either way the mistake was probably reasonable. (if there was a mistake and assuming that everything went down the way it’s currently being reported). However I think calling the arrest illegal vs a bad arrest is rhetorical semantics. I think there is enough room to colloquially state that while perhaps the the arrest was not criminal, it was illegal. Again some of how we frame the legality of the arrest will depend on the legality of the search.

          5) As far as the liberal comment. I think with the growth of libertarianism it’s becoming harder to typecast peoples views on individual policies based on their political affiliation. Indeed, while many conservative want loose gun/knife laws and many liberals want strict gun/knife laws that’s not necessarily the case.

          Ajaf7: “For all we know the prosecutor has some surveillance video that shows them planting the knife on them.”

          For all we know Prosecutor Mosby is pregnant with Freddie Gray’s love child. 🙂

          Speculation is not a legal argument.

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      What happened to explaining how the rules work? Your not merely explaining, you’re editorializing and your augments don’t stand up to any scrutiny. If your gonna make an argument have the courage and conviction to do so honestly, and don’t pretend like you are acting as some objective fact finder.

        I’ve explained the rules, at length, in multiple posts, with links to the relevant statutes, city codes, and case law.

        The fact that you are impervious to assimilating the information does NOT mean that I’m compelled to provide it to you for an infinite period of time.

        End of semester, my friend. “F”

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 9:12 pm

          U’ve explained nothing, you’ve just stated conclusory positions.

          1) Are you taking the position that under the Baltimore city law, if i take a regular swiss army pocket folding knife, and tie a string to the blade to help me open it because my nails aren’t long enough to fit into the groove, then my folding knife does in fact becomes an illegal switch blade knife? How is this assertion wrong based on your interpretation? You want to explain how the rules work then explain? If I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why? Please explain how the rules apply to that case.

          2) Additionally in the previous article it was stated that “[even if] Mosby is correct (unlikely) that the knife was legal under Maryland state law…” Please explain why it was so unlikely that she was correct that the knife was legal under Maryland state law, assuming that it is in fact a spring assist blade… § 4-105 of MD’s penal code, titled “Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife” defines a prohibited switchblade as “a knife or a penknife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, commonly called a switchblade knife or a switchblade penknife;” If it’s true that it was a spring assist knife, then it is clearly NOT a blade that opens automatically, since spring assisted blades require manual manipulation of the blade to a partially opened position before the spring assist is triggered. So how did you come to the conclusion that it was unlikely that she was correct that the blade was legal under MD state law?

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 9:22 pm

          Interestingly federal guidance interpreting federal regulations that have nearly identical definitions for a prohibited switchblade, have found that spring assisted knives aren’t switchblades… Statues aren’t self defining, they require interpretation. Simply citing to the baltimore city code is insufficient. You’re either an incompetent attorney, or your article deliberately overlooked basic interpretive practices.

          Please, don’t stop. As long as you’re busy here, you’re not causing harm elsewhere. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      “Please, don’t stop. As long as you’re busy here, you’re not causing harm elsewhere. :-)”

      Wow what a great legal argument. It’s funny how you can’t reply with one substantive comment. Why do you even write this blog at all if your not going to respond to or address criticism or alternative points of view? Do you really have nothing better to do that to try and convince people who already agree with you of your beliefs? Your statements are all cop outs and evasions. In the time it took you to to write a half dozen snide comments that don’t propel the discussion at all, you could have probably come up with at least one actually intelligent response that contributes something of value.

        Why do you say THAT?

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm

          Why do I say what? What would you like me to expand on? I’m happy to discuss anything further and i’ve been so this whole time? You don’t seem too interested in having a good faith discussion about these issues though.

          I’m not sure I understand your point. What do you mean?

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 11:50 pm

          Could you be more specific? My point is that I think to have an intellectually honest discussion about these issues, requires more than simple one word conclusory answers. As the writer of the article, i’d expect a more intellectually honest approach to dealing with criticism. What’s to be gained by simply getting defensive and dismissive? I think you’ll see that despite obvious disagreements, I was able to have a productive and good faith discussions with one of the other commenters without it devolving into personal attacks. I rather than responding with ‘nope’ and ‘Prosecutor Mosby? Is that YOU?’ i think both our time would be better spent if you actually tried to address the substantive issues I raised in a thoughtful and productive manner. I’m sure you are up to the task.

          Could you be more specific?

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Logicus Prime in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 6:29 pm

          “The document does not say what you claim it to say.”

          Yeah, you said that before. And it’s just as weak the second time around. Almost as weak as using both sides of a point to support your argument like you did in the original article.

          Have a good day buttercup.

      Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 7, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Since when is “no” a legal argument. I’m sure you can do better.

        Could you expand on that?

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 12:09 am

          It wouldn’t let me reply directly to your last comment so i’ll reply here.

          I’d be happy to be more specific. “in the previous article it was stated that “[even if] Mosby is correct (unlikely) that the knife was legal under Maryland state law…” Please explain why it was so unlikely that she was correct that the knife was legal under Maryland state law, assuming that it is in fact a spring assist blade… § 4-105 of MD’s penal code, titled “Transfer of switchblade or shooting knife” defines a prohibited switchblade as “a knife or a penknife having a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife, commonly called a switchblade knife or a switchblade penknife;” If it’s true that it was a spring assist knife, then it is clearly NOT a blade that opens automatically, since spring assisted blades require manual manipulation of the blade to a partially opened position before the spring assist is triggered. So how did you come to the conclusion that it was unlikely that she was correct that the blade was legal under MD state law?

          You sure spend a lot of time on dicta. Lots of free time? 🙂

          If we assume, for purposes of argument, that the knife was legal under MARYLAND law, it changes nothing.

          Gray was charged NOT for violating Maryland law but for violating Baltimore City Code. Under which the authorities have determined the knife to have been ILLEGAL, and thus the arrest justified.

          Not even MOSBY contests that the knife was legal under Baltimore City Code.

          But, please, keep talking about the irrelevant. It keeps you off the roads, at least. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Gremlin1974 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 12:34 am

          Andrew, Your Esquire is showing, LOL! 🙂

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 12:59 am

          I’m not suggesting that it’s relevant to the case, or changes anything. i’m just not sure where you got the idea that it was unlikely. you prided yourself on being someone who explains how the rules work, and it think that your statement that knife was likely illegal under Maryland law, while not pertinent to the case for obvious reason, is probative of your credibility.

          If you want me to move on to the topic of interpreting the Baltimore city code i’d be happy to:

          Under your interpretation of the of the baltimore city code, if I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why?

          Can you address the fact that federal guidance interpreting federal regulations that have nearly identical definitions for a prohibited switchblade, have found that spring assisted knives aren’t switchblades?

          Moreover, the sections title is called ‘Switch-blade knives.’ suggesting that it only is meant to describe that are functionally switchblades.

          Ajaf7: “If you want me to move on to the topic of interpreting the Baltimore city code i’d be happy to:”

          It matters not a whit to me what you do. 🙂

          “Under your interpretation of the of the baltimore city code, if I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why?”

          Irrelevant under the facts of this case.

          “Can you address the fact that federal guidance interpreting federal regulations that have nearly identical definitions for a prohibited switchblade, have found that spring assisted knives aren’t switchblades?”

          Irrelevant under the law of this case.

          “Moreover, the sections title is called ‘Switch-blade knives.’ suggesting that it only is meant to describe that are functionally switchblades.”

          The Baltimore Police Task Force disagrees. I expect deposition of officers and prosecutors would reveal a great many cases of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for possession of precisely the type of knife Gray was carrying.

          In any case, I defer to the Task Force’s greater expertise in determining what is deemed a lawful or unlawful knife for purposes of probable cause for an arrest under Baltimore City Code.

          Have a nice day. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

          None of those things are irrelevant to your article. Your entire article is an attempt to demonstrate that the knife was ACTUALLY legal. Indeed, it’s titled “Confirmed- freddie grey’s knife WAS actually illegal”. A great deal of space is devoted to showing why one interpretation of the law is correct. If that interpretation cannot hold water when faced with proper scrutiny, then it is clearly erroneous. It’s very telling that you can’t answer a simple question about what you claim to believe is the proper interpretation of the law. Moreover, showing that the knife was actually legal and that the police’s interpretation of the law is incorrect would be an important step in proving the claims predicated on false arrest/false imprisonment. Figuring out whether the knife was ACTUALLY legal or not, requires us to interpret the law. The fact that a suggested definition of the law leads to clearly erroneous or incongruent findings is highly probative of that interpretation is correct.

          “I expect deposition of officers and prosecutors would reveal a great many cases of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for possession of precisely the type of knife Gray was carrying.”

          -“Speculation is not a legal argument.”

          phelps in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

          The Baltimore Police Task Force disagrees. I expect deposition of officers and prosecutors would reveal a great many cases of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions for possession of precisely the type of knife Gray was carrying.

          That the state is in the habit of violating the rights of its citizens doesn’t make those rights go away.

          Logicus Prime in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm

          According to the officer’s application for statement of charges referenced in the article, Gray was arrested prior to determining the type of knife. That eliminates probable cause. Since Gray had already been arrested, the officer had to actually open the knife himself to determine whether it was illegal. That a police officer doesn’t know whether a knife is actually a switchblade after opening it himself is rather hard to believe.

          Also, the Baltimore code specifies an “automatic spring.” Opening a spring-assisted knife requires initially working against the spring force keeping the knife blade securely folded into the handle. Unless the city code has a definition of “automatic spring” that includes spring-assisted knives or there’s case law to that effect, a spring-assisted knife fails to meet the standard of the code.

          Regarding the claim that the task force determining that the knife was illegal, the police have a vested interest in that determination. Besides, as stated earlier in the article, it isn’t up to the police to determine whether the knife was actually illegal, but to a jury. The article contradicts itself. “Arguably” still stands.

          Further, the statement of charges itself states that Gray sold a switchblade, but the officer never mentions that in his application. He took the knife from Gray. Gray then tried to sell it to him? Unlikely. Looking at the two documents, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the officer was making it all up.

          “According to the officer’s application for statement of charges referenced in the article, Gray was arrested prior to determining the type of knife.”

          Hahaha, now you’re just making stuff up. The application for statement of charges certainly does NOT say Gray was arrested prior to determining the type of knife.

          Shame on you, sir. Shame. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Logicus Prime in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 5:36 pm

          So the officer’s statement is just a bunch of facts listed without respect to order in which they occured?

          The document does not say what you claim it to say.

          You are in error, buttercup. 🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Logicus Prime in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 5:48 pm

          “The document does not say what you claim it to say.”

          An unsupported claim that’s also non-responsive to my question. Yawn.

          I’m going by the order of the facts in the officer’s own written statement. You responded with nothing more than a dismissive ‘tude. That’s hardly convincing.

          Make all the mouth noises you want, the fact remains:

          The document does not say what you claim it to say.

          🙂

          –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

          Logicus Prime in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 6:32 pm

          Nuts! Accidentlly replied to the wrong comment the first time.

          “The document does not say what you claim it to say.”

          Yeah, you said that before. And it’s just as weak the second time around. Almost as weak as using both sides of a point to support your argument like you did in the original article.

          Have a good day buttercup.

      Ajaf7 in reply to Andrew Branca. | May 8, 2015 at 11:26 am

      “a rising up against established authority; rebellion; revolt” vs. “I defer to the Task Force’s greater expertise” What a sheep. Do you know who is on the task force? How do you know they have expertise in legal interpretation? They weren’t just interpreting whether the knife was legal for the purposes of probable cause for an arrest under Baltimore, they were deciding whether it was legal PERIOD. Indeed, the idea that an instrument has two sources of legality, one for the purpose of probable cause, and one for the law otherwise is completely fictitious. Since when does a police officers reasonable mistake about the legality of an object, make that objected henceforth ILLEGAL, for the purposes of finding probable cause?

        phelps in reply to Ajaf7. | May 8, 2015 at 11:28 am

        If the law is decided by what the average, half-educated and not too smart cop (remember, the brass went through the whole appeals process to gain the right to NOT HIRE SMART PEOPLE)…

        then we are all well and truly fucked.

    Ragspierre in reply to MarkS. | May 5, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Again with your straw men…???

    “The law is what the law says not what some LEO wishes was reasonable.”

    Besides you, quote where what a LEO “wishes” is ever part of this thread. Please.

      MarkS in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 8:42 pm

      There you go again! My opinion of a point in the article has to be a quote, really? Straw men, Hah! Remember Walter Scott? He was pulled over for a tail light out and this was after the Supremes ruled on another SC tail light out case so it’s surprising that this dumb ass cop is the only one in the country that doesn’t know only one is required in SC, but I’m sure, with his ignorance recently codified by the Supremes, that he thought he was being reasonable. You seem to be OK with being stopped for violating a non existent law comforted by the assurance that maybe you can sue at a later date ignoring the havoc a false arrest can cause in your life. For example, just about every job I’ve ever had asked on the application “Have you ever been arrested?”. Not, Have you ever been arrested and had the charges dismissed because the cop was a shit head? I’ll state it again as clearly as I can so even you can comprehend: Something terribly wrong, irregardless of what the Supreme Court or any legislative body passes when it is unacceptable for a citizen to be excused for an offense because he reasonable thought he was obeying the law but perfectly OK for those tasked with enforcing the law to be ignorant of what they are enforcing.

    objection in reply to MarkS. | May 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Mark, please express your indignation not to Mr. Branca but to the United States Supreme Court. In a December 15th 2014 opinion the Justices (8-1) wrote:

    The Fourth Amendment requires government officials to act reasonably, not perfectly, and gives those officials “fair leeway for enforcing the law”….Searches and seizures based on mistakes of fact may be reasonable. The limiting factor is that “the mistakes must be those of reasonable men”…Mistakes of law are no less compatible with the concept of reasonable suspicion, which arises from an understanding of both the facts and the relevant law. Whether an officer is reasonably mistaken about the one or the other, the result is the same: the facts are outside the scope of the law. And neither the Fourth Amendment’s text nor this Court’s precedents offer any reason why that result should not be acceptable when reached by a reasonable mistake of law.

    I think you should thank Mr. Branca for very precisely explaining the law. You may not like it, but that is the law. Kudo’s to Mr. Branca for so succinctly explaining the current state of the law. The Justices used more words than he did.

      Ragspierre in reply to objection. | May 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      Applying precedent from the John Marshall court, which had MOST of the Founders looking over their shoulders, on down through our history.

      MarkS in reply to objection. | May 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Yeah, but again my main point is it is wrong for government officials to be held to a reasonable but not perfect standard while the rest of us are held to a perfect but not reasonable standard meaning ignorance of the law is no excuse for us.

        objection in reply to MarkS. | May 6, 2015 at 8:29 am

        Police officers have no advantage when it comes to the Fourth Amendment. The standard is the standard. A subjective standard is only applied for qualified immunity from civil lawsuits. The Court most recently wrote:

        The Fourth Amendment tolerates only reasonable mistakes, and those mistakes—whether of fact or of law— must be objectively reasonable. We do not examine the subjective understanding of the particular officer involved.Cf. Whren v. United States, 517 U. S. 806, 813 (1996). And the inquiry is not as forgiving as the one employed in the distinct context of deciding whether an officer is entitled to qualified immunity for a constitutional or statutory violation. Thus, an officer can gain no Fourth Amendment advantage through a sloppy study of the laws he is duty bound to enforce

        Subjective review only enters into the civil lawsuit immunity known as qualified immunity. Without qualified immunity from civil lawsuits few people would want to take the job of police officer. At least that is the view of legislatures in all 50 States and the Courts.It is not even a Democrat Republican issue.

        If you want to change the standards, contact Congress and your State Legislature.

        Rags was correct when he pointed out this line of jurisprudence goes all the way back to the Marshall Court

    Gremlin1974 in reply to MarkS. | May 5, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Ok, so let me take your argument a step further. Should a cop have to confirm that a gun is real before he takes action to defend his own life? Should he have to wait to make sure the weapon isn’t a toy or a bb gun?

    That is basically what you are saying that cops should be right 100% of the time.

    Also, the law does have mulligans, if you are arrested and the knife turns out to be legal, guess what, you are free to go with no charges.

      Ragspierre in reply to Gremlin1974. | May 5, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      AND you CAN sue for false arrest. So it isn’t like LEOs operate with impunity.

        MarkS in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 8:45 pm

        Wrong again! Cops don’t pay civil claims an insurance company or the taxpayers foot the bill, unless you can enlighten me as to when and where a police officer payed out of his own pocket!

          Ragspierre in reply to MarkS. | May 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm

          I won’t debate with an idiot.

          Who do you think pays the officer’s insurance? (Hint: who pays the full nut for an employee’s social security?)

          Ever tried a false arrest case? Ever defended one? LEO insurance policies are usually quite modest, and, after the insurer tenders policy limits, the remainder is on the LEO if the court has ruled that they lost their qualified immunity.

          http://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/Opinions/Unpublished/011565.U.pdf

          Ever hear of proportionate responsibility? It can take other defendants completely off the liability hook, leaving only the LEO. No tax-payers, as you stupidly imagine.

          You need to run your bullshit past someone else. I’ll just embarrass you. Some more.

    Milhouse in reply to MarkS. | May 6, 2015 at 11:35 am

    Policemen are expected to know the law, but they are not expected to be judges. If the law is clear and a policeman gets it wrong, it’s on him. But if the law is so ambiguous that even a judge would need to use his analytical skills to figure out what it means, a policeman can’t be faulted for getting it wrong.

The guy who died had been arrested multiple times, had a number of felony convictions and was on bail while waiting to be tried for a couple of new felonies. When he ran from the police doesn’t that allow the police to put him back in custody for a hearing to revoke his bail?

    MarkS in reply to ConradCA. | May 5, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Well, those glorious Supremes has ruled that if you’re in a high crime area and run upon seeing the police that constitutes reasonable suspicion for a stop. But I guess if you’re in a good neighborhood being fleet of foot is acceptable.

      Ragspierre in reply to MarkS. | May 5, 2015 at 9:32 pm

      Yeah, because we know that gang activity is JUST the same in “good neighborhoods” because the buildings are all tagged, and the old people are getting knocked over for their SS checks just like other places. Oh, and the bodies are dropping ALLLLL up in the ‘burb, yo.

      And LEOs aren’t smart enough to distinguish the two locales and their threat-levels.

      You really are queer about cops…

        Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | May 5, 2015 at 10:42 pm

        “Oh, and the bodies are dropping ALLLLL up in the ‘burb, yo.”

        Ok, I keep asking that you warn folks before you do this stuff, just sprayed my keyboard with coke zero again. LMAO, priceless! 🙂

Richard Aubrey | May 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Couple of points:
I have a folding knife I can open and close one-handed. I do it by pinching the back of the blade which protrudes from the handle sufficiently to allow a grip. The lock-back mechanism begins applying opening force about 90% through the arc. IOW, only the last snapback–so to speak–has any assistance. I close it by holding the knife edge up and pushing the lock back with my thumb and folding my hand. I can do either or both in my pocket, allowing me to come out of my pocket with a functional knife. There is a small stud on the blade, but it’s so close to the hinge that the force necessary to start the operation is too great.
I sound like Thorfinn Skullcleaver here, going on about a promotional item I picked up from a vendor.
Point is, in some jurisdictions I may be committing a felony, or at least a misdemeanor.
It’s a freaking jack knife.
In the mythical old days, legal was derived from the Ten Commandments. There may be seven ways of stealing but you knew you were stealing and so did everybody else, eventually.
Today, when a bored ‘crat decides you shouldn’t interfere with the habitat of the frumious bandersnatch, you’ll be a federal felon when you throw your old Christmas tree into the vacant lot.

Phillep Harding | May 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

That “spring assisted closure” bit in Maryland law has me scratching my head. My first thought was that about 99% of the folding knives have “keep closed” springs in them and would thus be illegal, but that makes no sense.

Unless the legislature contemplated banning almost all pocket knives. (Sadly, not beyond possibility.)

Henry Hawkins | May 5, 2015 at 5:51 pm

You read down the LI front page of articles and links, and it’s 3 comments on that article, 7 on that one, oooh 12 on that one, and then… BAM … 73 comments here.

This Branca feller is dynamite!

Only a person as ignorant as the average cop would define a switchblade and an assisted open as one in the same. A cop, despite the opinion of the moron that wrote this piece, has no say whatsoever in what is legal and illegal. They are tools sent to do a job, nothing more. Harbor Freight quality tools at that.

blacksburger | May 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm

“Mosby knows the charges are bullshit, but also knows the case will get moved out of Baltimore to a new venue – and a new prosecutor, who’ll know the joy of trying to explain why the charges are being dropped. Mosby’s ‘bold’ superfast prosecution announcement quieted the unrest, while the eventual reduction or drop of charges will fall to another jurisdiction, after which Mosby can say, “well, I tried, but I can’t control what ____________ decides.””

If the charges are dropped or greatly reduced, all hell will break loose again. I think Mosby will get a lot of the blame if the rioting resumes. The people who believed her will be furious.

So are Leftists/socialists now saying Freddie Gray’s 2nd amendment rights were violated with the knife?? omg

Please support the Baltimore officers. Inner-city police have the most difficult jobs in the world. Please make a donation at acpor.org for their legal expenses.

MouseTheLuckyDog | May 5, 2015 at 10:01 pm

The defense has filed a motion to inspect the knife.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-freddie-gray-statements-20150505-story.html#page=1

A link to a pdf of the motion appears on the left.

A brief observation and thought:
Is all this stuff about illegal arrest because if those charges are dropped, then the only police charged are black?

The above quotation from City Code §59-22 omits the final clause, “commonly known as a switch-blade knife.” Again, spring-assisted knives are not switch-blade knives. This is at best a legal gray area, and it’s not unusual or improper for a prosecutor to level additional charges that are a little wobbly on top of more important charges which are not. Clearly the most important charges relate to what came after the arrest: namely failing to get Gray necessary, immediate medical attention. If Mosby’s prosecutions constitute a “debacle,” what term could adequately describe the officers’ arrest and transport of Mr. Gray? This manufactured technicality about the definition of a switchblade is not a debacle. The PD’s leaking a phony story about Gray thrashing himself around and purposely severing his own spinal cord, now that was a debacle because the witness in question promptly waltzed forward and contradicted the anonymous leaker’s implausible spin of his account to prosecutors.

sublimejhn | May 6, 2015 at 3:59 am

Kinda nitpicking here, but I like the overall explanation given in this article and would like to be able to provide the link for those that seem to be having difficulty understanding how probable cause works in relation to a beat officer, and little spelling and grammar issues tend to take away from the actual substance of the article itself.

The line “Once can also imagine” needs to have “once” changed to “one.”

Under the Task Force heading the first line is “Now, we can can remove the word arguably from the above statement.” “can” is double up and one of them needs to be removed.

Again, I know they’re minor typos, but it never hurts to fix them up.

    We always appreciate any errors being pointed out, when constructively done as here.

    The two you’ve specified have been corrected.

    Thanks!

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Y’all shouldn’t automatically assume that Fox News got caught up in that girl’s lie, it’s more likely they knew off the bat she was lying & purposely reported it as she said it because they knew the truth would come out & add alot more credence to the argument that you cant trust black people’s eyewitness accounts when it involves an officer or a white person in general. That they will lie their butts off & with seemingly great conviction, just to screw over any white person they can..

Apparently, the state’s attorney cannot even do her job. Seems the she charged the wrong people for the crime (one that will soon end like it did in Furgeson, Mo.)

Gremlin1974 | May 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm

I have to wonder if it is a bot program that does all the down thumbs or if there is someone who actually has so little life that they are sitting in their mom’s basement in their underwear actually down thumbing everything on this site, lol.

1) That’s a poor interpretation of the baltimore statute. It states, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.” commonly known as a switch-blade knife is language of limitation. According @Andrew Branca’s interpretation of the law, if it take a regular swiss army pocket folding knife, and tie a string to the blade to help me open it because my nails aren’t long enough to fit into the groove, then suddenly my folding knife becomes an illegal switch blade knife? Clearly, to be violative of the law, the blade must be commonly known as a switch-blade knife.

2) either way, I’ve yet to hear anything that explains why Freddy gray was searched to begin with. if Police reasonably suspect the person is armed and dangerous, they may also frisk him or her for weapons. Here they reasonably believed he was armed, but what gave them reasonable suspicion to believe he was dangerous? So far this question has yet to be answered. If they didn’t have reasonable suspicion to search, then the knife legal or not is fruit of the poisonous tree. No search, no knife, no knife, no lawful arrest.

Logicus Prime | May 6, 2015 at 5:07 pm

First, does the Baltimore code define what an “automatic spring” is or is there case law where it is defined? Assisted opening knives are very different from switchblades and the user must initially act against spring force to open the blade. That doesn’t sound very automatic.

Most folding knives of any kind use spring pressure to keep the blade folded and that spring pressure does help close the knife as the blade folds into the handle. If the code were applied strictly, Swiss Army Knives would be banned.

Second, the great majority of folding knives with pocket clips are not switchblades, so it’s hard to say that they had “probable” cause

Who are you people? This place is wonderful!

Second, for Gray’s arrest to have been unlawful it would be necessary that there was no possibility a reasonable officer would have perceived Gray’s knife as violating the Baltimore code.

I think this is a misstatement of the law. Confusion among reasonable officers about the law invokes qualified immunity, but it does not make an arrest without an actual violation of the law lawful. A spring assisted open is different than an automatic spring. If every spring violated, then “automatic” has no meaning, and the law is ambiguous.

Just because you are protected from prosecution doesn’t bless everything that you did as lawful.

To make his point, this author is intentionally quoting a piece of the Baltimore Code § 59-22 out of context. The code actually says:

Switch-blade knives. (a) Possession or sale, etc., prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring or other device for opening and/or closing the blade, commonly known as a switch-blade knife.

What this author chose to quote was:

Switch-blade knives. (a) Possession or sale, etc., prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, carry, or possess any knife with an automatic spring.

The code, as it is written (if read in its entirety), is not prohibiting all knives with springs. It is prohibiting switchblades. Numerous jurisdictions (most notably NYC) have taken it upon themselves to apply this law to any and all pocketknives, but that does not change the fact of what a switchblade actually is.

By the letter of the law (if you read the whole law, Mr. Branca), the knife is not illegal.

Gremlin1974 | May 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm

“1) “Because the knife wasn’t found during a frisk, it was clipped to his pocket and one of the cops noticed it.” That is not true. A knife clip was noticed during the chase, how could the cop tell it was an illegal blade just by seeing the clip? A search was needed to actually access the knife. Going into someones pockets is a search. Indeed, the charging document states, “This officer noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket.” Now if the knife was inside the front right pants pocket, all he could have seen was the clip, and it’s highly unlikely he could have identified it as an illegal knife just by getting a brief glimpse of the clip in the midst of a chase.”

This is just to naive to take seriously, I never said they could tell the knife was illegal. But you can certainly identify the butt of a knife sticking out of someones pocket, since all the clips I have seen attach at the side of the knife, if it was clipped to the inside of his pocket, which means the clip in the outside of his pocket any reasonable person could have identified it as a knife, even from a distance, it doesn’t take a Rocket Surgeon. 😉

“2) “Which makes him a felon in possession of a possibly illegal blade.” Please point to a law in MD that states that a felon can’t own a blade? While § 5-133 restricts the possession of a regulated firearm by felons, there is no corresponding section for knives.”

Once again I never said it was illegal for him to have a knife, but when a felon is in possession of any weapon it is only prudent to secure that weapon for the officers safety. Especially when the felon in question is acting in a suspicious manner.

“Moreover, the arresting officers needed to know that he was a felon before the arrest. So the felon part doesn’t really add anything to the discussion.”

Which if you had paid attention to things like facts and evidence it has been made clear that Mr. Gray was well known to at least some of the officers involved and was a well known dealer in the area. So they were very aware that Mr. Gray was a felon. So no points for you.

3) “I just disagree, I think the law is broad enough that a spring assisted knife is pretty clearly covered or could be considered to be covered. Most laws are not written to be specific, especially when written by liberals to limit things they find “dangerous”?”

“If you are referring to the state law”

which I obviously wasn’t since I’ve never asserted that the knife was illegal under state law. Oh, by the way neither did the cops.

“b. If you are reefing to the ordinance then, if I tie a string to my swiss army pocket knife to assist in opening, does it turn into an illegal switchblade? yes or no? and if not why?”

From the code; “or other device for opening and/or closing the blade,” Regardless of if I agree with it or not, possibly yes, because it becomes a “device for opening and/or closing the knife”.

Two problems with your argument regarding “switchblades” and the limiting language. One traditional switchblades the spring only helps open the knife and it must be closed manually by exerting force against the spring until the blade locks in place. Spring assisted knifes tend to help with both opening and closing the knife, usually slightly more so in closing.

Secondly, as far as the limiting language argument, well we know how much liberals pay attention to things like that don’t we? “Commonly known as a switchblade knife” vs , “shall not be infringed”. 🙂

Since when is no a legal argument?

Logicus Prime | May 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm

According to the charging documents, Gray was arrested prior to determining the type of knife. That eliminates probable cause. Since Gray had already been arrested, the officer had to actually open the knife himself to determine whether it was illegal. That a police officer doesn’t know whether a knife is actually a switchblade after opening it himself is rather hard to believe.

Also, the Baltimore code specifies an “automatic spring.” Opening a spring-assisted knife requires initially working against the spring force keeping the knife blade securely folded into the handle. Unless the city code has a definition of “automatic spring” that includes spring-assisted knives or there’s case law to that effect, a spring-assisted knife fails to meet the standard of the code.

Regarding the claim that the task force determining that the knife was illegal, the police have a vested interest in that determination. Besides, as stated earlier in the article, it isn’t up to the police to determine whether the knife was actually illegal, but to a jury. The article contradicts itself. “Arguably” still stands.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend