People v. Forrest, Cr. 11199

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtPETERS; TRAYNOR; MOSK; McCOMB
Citation67 Cal.2d 478,432 P.2d 374,62 Cal.Rptr. 766
Parties, 432 P.2d 374 The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Frank Eugene FORREST, Defendant and Appellant.
Docket NumberCr. 11199
Decision Date13 October 1967

Page 766

62 Cal.Rptr. 766
67 Cal.2d 478, 432 P.2d 374
The PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Frank Eugene FORREST, Defendant and Appellant.
Cr. 11199.
Supreme Court of California, In Bank.
Oct. 13, 1967.

[67 Cal.2d 479] Gary C. Britton, Public Defender, for defendant and appellant.

Thomas C. Lynch, Atty. Gen., Robert R. Granucci and Don Jacobson, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

PETERS, Justice.

Defendant appeals from a judgment granting him probation after conviction for carrying a concealed 'dirk or dagger' in violation of section 12020 of the Penal Code, which makes the offense a felony.

Page 767

[432 P.2d 375] The sole question involved is whether the weapon defendant was carrying, an oversized pocketknife, is a 'dirk or dagger' within the meaning of that code section. We have concluded that it was not, and for that reason the judgment must be reversed.

The facts are not contradicted.

Defendant and several other motorcyclists were stopped by officers of the California Highway Patrol for various equipment violations. Defendant was cited for such a violation. As he opened his jacket to obtain his driver's license, the officer noticed a knife handle sticking out of his right front pants pocket. The knife was an oversized pocketknife with its blades folded into the handle. Both officers testified that defendant's closed jacket covered the knife. He was charged and convicted of carrying a concealed 'dirk or dagger.'

The knife involved, as already indicated is constructed like an ordinary pocketknife, but is much larger. It contains two blades, one large and one small. They both fold into the handle like an ordinary pocketknife. The long blade is about six inches in length measured from the tip of the blade to the handguard. It, like many ordinary pocketknife blades, is narrow and pointed at the tip, and only one edge is sharpened. When opened like an ordinary pocketknife, the blades do not lock into place. Near the base of the larger blade and on the handle there are two small handguards. The handle is eight inches in length.

Is this oversized knife a 'dirk' or a 'dagger' as these terms are used in section 12020 of the Penal Code? That section provides in part: 'Any person * * * who carries concealed upon his person any dirk or dagger, is guilty of a felony, * * *'

[67 Cal.2d 480] The statute does not define a 'dirk or dagger' but a consideration of other sections of the code and the available case law indicates that, as a matter of law, a folding knife of the type here involved is not a dirk or dagger. Thus section 3024 of the Penal Code, which increases the minimum punishment for certain felonies when in the commission of the felony or at the time of arrest the felon is armed with a deadly weapon, or has such concealed upon his person, defines the term 'deadly weapon' to include 'any dirk, dagger * * * any knife having a blade longer than five inches. * * *' Obviously, if by the terms 'dirk' and 'dagger' the Legislature has intended to encompass all knives, the further reference to knives would have been unnecessary. Thus, here at least, the Legislature indicated that the terms 'dirk' and 'dagger' did not include all knives.

The courts have only applied the section to instruments where the blades and handle are solid, or where the blade locks into place. Thus, in People v. Ruiz, 88 Cal.App. 502, 504, 263 P. 836, 837, it was properly held that a bayonet with part of it filed off was a dagger. The court said: 'A dagger has been defined as any straight knife to be worn on the person which is capable of inflicting death, except what is commonly known as a 'picket-knife.' 'Dirk' and 'dagger,' are used synonymously and consist of any straight stabbing weapon, as a dirk, stiletto, etc. Century Dictionary. They may consist of any weapon fitted primarily for stabbing. The word dagger is a generic term covering the dirk, stiletto, poniard, etc. Standard Dictionary.'

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37 practice notes
  • People v. Rubalcava, No. S081209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 12, 2000
    ...see also People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 850-851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564 [applying this definition]; People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 480, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374 Application of this judicially derived definition, however, was somewhat inconsistent. For example, va......
  • The People v. Collins, No. S058537.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 11, 2010
    ...of a concealed weapon. (See People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 851-852, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564; People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 480-481, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374.) 18 Error in the admission of evidence under factor (b) is reversible only if “there is a reasonable poss......
  • People v. Bain, Cr. 7999
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 26, 1970
    ...of any weapon fitted primarily for stabbing.' The knife found to be a dirk or dagger in Ruiz was a bayonet. In People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 481, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 768, 432 P.2d 374, 376, the court said: 'Although the large blade in the knife involved here is pointed and to a mino......
  • State v. Green
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • April 9, 1973
    ...knife' embraces only knives with fixed or locked blades to the exclusion of folding-blade knives. We are cited to People v. Forrest, 67 Cal.2d 478, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374 (Sup.Ct.1967) (en banc), and note therein the court's Although the large blade in the knife involved here is poi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • The People v. Collins, No. S058537.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • August 11, 2010
    ...of a concealed weapon. (See People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 851-852, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564; People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 480-481, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374.) 18 Error in the admission of evidence under factor (b) is reversible only if “there is a reasonable poss......
  • People v. Rubalcava, No. S081209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 12, 2000
    ...see also People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 850-851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564 [applying this definition]; People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 480, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374 Application of this judicially derived definition, however, was somewhat inconsistent. For example, va......
  • People v. Bain, Cr. 7999
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • October 26, 1970
    ...of any weapon fitted primarily for stabbing.' The knife found to be a dirk or dagger in Ruiz was a bayonet. In People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 481, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 768, 432 P.2d 374, 376, the court said: 'Although the large blade in the knife involved here is pointed and to a mino......
  • State v. Green
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • April 9, 1973
    ...knife' embraces only knives with fixed or locked blades to the exclusion of folding-blade knives. We are cited to People v. Forrest, 67 Cal.2d 478, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374 (Sup.Ct.1967) (en banc), and note therein the court's Although the large blade in the knife involved here is poi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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