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Thread: Pocket knife not a deadly weapon in NM

  1. #1
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Pocket knife not a deadly weapon in NM

    I just found a blog entry on the Collins law firm website (at http://www.albuquerquecriminallawyer...apons-charges/) that may be interesting to New Mexico members. Apparently in 2009 a high school student in Taos inadvertently took a pocket knife to school. The prosecutor insisted on prosecuting the student for possession of a deadly weapon on school premises.

    After an initial guilty ruling, then an appeals court guilting, the NM supreme court finally ruled that, in the words of the blog, "The statute defining deadly weapon and the cases applying it simply did not include pocket-knives" and "the Court came to the common sense conclusion that a pocket-knife is no more a deadly weapon than a rock, both of which can be used to inflict deadly harm. The key to analysis in any particular case is the intent of the party possessing the pocket-knife or other potentially deadly weapon not specifically identified in the statutory definition. The court recognized that many objects, lamps, chairs, rocks, dishes, bottles and yes pocket-knives may and have become deadly weapons with the requisite intent."

    Thus a pocket knife cannot be assumed to be a deadly weapon because is not included in the list of objects that are statutorily defined as such. Whether in in a given case it is a deadly weapon depends on the posessor's intent.

    I think this is important to know about because, as I understand it, prosecutors tend to try to stack up as many charges as possible against a defendant, and might try to claim that a defendant came into (what ended up as) a self defense situation armed with a wide variety of "weapons" (pocket knives, tire irons, baseball bats, etc.) that the defendant did not intend to be used as such.

    The blog entry has more details and a link to the supreme court's opinion.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Pleasant Grove, Utah, USA
    And yet another MISAPPLIED zero-tolerance policy has cost a student several days on suspension, how many thousand dollars in legal fees?, how many hours of anxiety?
    I am glad that the NM Supreme Court has ruled thusly, but frustrated to the extreme that a Prosecutor couldn't look at the law and recognize that the law was not broken for 2 reasons.... first, a pocket knife is not listed in the statute as a lethal or deadly weapon and second, the INNOCENT teenager had no intent to use this TOOL that happened to be a pocket knife as a weapon!

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