People v. Pettway, No. A052481

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtLOW
Citation233 Cal.App.3d 1067,285 Cal.Rptr. 147
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. Curtis T. PETTWAY, Defendant and Appellant.
Decision Date28 August 1991
Docket NumberNo. A052481

Page 147

285 Cal.Rptr. 147
233 Cal.App.3d 1067
The PEOPLE of the State of California, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
Curtis T. PETTWAY, Defendant and Appellant.
No. A052481.
Court of Appeal, First District, Division 5, California.
Aug. 28, 1991.
Review Denied Nov. 14, 1991.

[233 Cal.App.3d 1068] Steven Kent Wilkinson, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, San Francisco, for defendant and appellant.

Daniel E. Lungren, Atty. Gen., George Williamson, Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., John H. Sugiyama, Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen., Christopher J. Wei, Laurence K. Sullivan, Deputy Attys. Gen., for plaintiff and respondent.

[233 Cal.App.3d 1069] LOW, Presiding Justice.

We hold that a knife with a handle designed to fit in the palm of the hand, with a two-and one-fourth-inch blade protruding between the middle fingers, is a "dirk or dagger" within the meaning of Penal Code section 12020, subdivision (a) (hereafter § 12020(a)). We disagree with In re Conrad V. (1986) 176 Cal.App.3d 775, 222 Cal.Rptr. 552, which held that a similar knife was not a dagger, in part because it did not have a handguard.

Defendant Curtis T. Pettway appeals from the revocation of probation and the imposition of a three-year state prison sentence. The defendant contends that he did not violate section 12020(a) by wearing a knife with a two-and one-fourth-inch fixed blade concealed in his waistband, and therefore his probation should not have been revoked. We affirm.

In 1989 defendant pled guilty to selling a controlled substance. (Health & Saf.Code, § 11352.) The court suspended imposition of the sentence and placed the defendant on probation for three years. In October 1990 defendant was detained for urinating in the street. When the officer conducted a pat search, a knife was found on the defendant and he was arrested for carrying a concealed dangerous weapon. On January 23, 1991, the trial court revoked probation for a violation of section 12020(a). This statute makes it a felony for any person to "carr[y] concealed upon his or her person any dirk or dagger." The defendant contends that his knife is not a "dirk or dagger" and he requests that the order revoking probation be reversed.

The test on appeal is whether there is substantial evidence to support the conclusion of the trier of fact. The evidence will be viewed in the light most favorable to the judgment, but the issue will be resolved in light of the whole record. (People v. Johnson (1980) 26 Cal.3d 557, 578, 162 Cal.Rptr. 431, 606 P.2d 738.) The knife was brought into the probation revocation hearing, where it was examined by the court and found to be a dagger. In order to rule in defendant's favor it would be necessary to find that the evidence did not support the conclusion as a matter of fact or that as a matter of law the knife was not a dagger.

"Dirk or dagger" is not defined in the code itself. The following definition, however, has been widely followed. "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 'pocket-knife.' Dirk and dagger are used synonymously and consist of any straight stabbing weapon, as a dirk, stiletto, etc. (Century Dict.) They may consist of any weapon fitted [233 Cal.App.3d 1070] primarily for stabbing." (People v. Ruiz (1928) 88 Cal.App. 502, 504, 263 P. 836; see, e.g., People v. Forrest (1967) 67 Cal.2d 478, 480, 62 Cal.Rptr. 766, 432 P.2d 374; People v. Villagren (1980) 106 Cal.App.3d 720, 725, 165 Cal.Rptr. 470.) 1

"As is the usual practice in interpreting criminal statutes, the term 'dirk or dagger' is to be strictly construed." (People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 850, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564.) The test of a dirk or dagger for the purposes of section 12020(a) is whether the instrument is designed primarily for stabbing, and not whether the instrument can be used for stabbing or is capable of inflicting death. (Bills v. Superior Court (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 855, 860, 150 Cal.Rptr. 582.) Depending on its characteristics, an instrument may be a dagger as a matter of law or it may be a dagger as a matter of fact for the trier to find. (In re Quintus W. (1981) 120 Cal.App.3d 640, 644-645, 175 Cal.Rptr. 30.) A pounded bedspring with a pointed tip was held a dirk or dagger as a matter of law because it was designed, and could only be used, to stab. (People v. Cabral (1975) 51 Cal.App.3d 707, 712, 124 Cal.Rptr. 418.) However, a knife that had blades that...

To continue reading

Request your trial
10 practice notes
  • People v. Aubrey, No. A081058
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 22, 1999
    ...is a dirk or dagger has long been deemed to be an element of the offense defined by section 12020(a) (see People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1072, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147) and, thus, a question of fact for the jury (People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 850-851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2......
  • People v. Rubalcava, No. S081209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 12, 2000
    ...as amended Mar. 16, 1993, p. 2; see People v. Wharton (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 72, 77, fn. 3, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 673; People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1070, fn. 1, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147.) The resulting definition ("a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is primari......
  • Commonwealth v. Garcia, No. 07–P–1699.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • July 25, 2012
    ...intent, have interpreted the term “dagger” to mean a blade that, by design, is intended for stabbing. See People v. Pettway, 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1069–1070, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147 (1991) (“Dirk and dagger are used synonymously and consist of any straight stabbing weapon.... They may consist of a......
  • People v. Mowatt, Nos. A072760
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 22, 1997
    ...851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564; People v. Villagren (1980) 106 Cal.App.3d 720, 725, 165 Cal.Rptr. 470; People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1069-1070, 285 Cal.Rptr. Application of this judicially derived definition was sometimes inconsistent. (See, e.g., People v. Barrios (199......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • People v. Aubrey, No. A081058
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • March 22, 1999
    ...is a dirk or dagger has long been deemed to be an element of the offense defined by section 12020(a) (see People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1072, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147) and, thus, a question of fact for the jury (People v. Bain (1971) 5 Cal.3d 839, 850-851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2......
  • People v. Rubalcava, No. S081209.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • June 12, 2000
    ...as amended Mar. 16, 1993, p. 2; see People v. Wharton (1992) 5 Cal.App.4th 72, 77, fn. 3, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 673; People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1070, fn. 1, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147.) The resulting definition ("a knife or other instrument with or without a handguard that is primarily de......
  • Commonwealth v. Garcia, No. 07–P–1699.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • July 25, 2012
    ...intent, have interpreted the term “dagger” to mean a blade that, by design, is intended for stabbing. See People v. Pettway, 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1069–1070, 285 Cal.Rptr. 147 (1991) (“Dirk and dagger are used synonymously and consist of any straight stabbing weapon.... They may consist of a......
  • People v. Mowatt, Nos. A072760
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • July 22, 1997
    ...851, 97 Cal.Rptr. 684, 489 P.2d 564; People v. Villagren (1980) 106 Cal.App.3d 720, 725, 165 Cal.Rptr. 470; People v. Pettway (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1069-1070, 285 Cal.Rptr. Application of this judicially derived definition was sometimes inconsistent. (See, e.g., People v. Barrios (199......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT