The New York Times has a very good editorial calling for reform of the state’s crazy gravity-knife law, under which the NYPD has arrested thousands of stagehands, carpenters, construction workers and others observed in possession of work knives that are legal almost everywhere else in the country. I wrote about the issue for Cato a year and a half ago; more here.
“For years [Manhattan sous-chef Joseph] Cracco had been using his Spyderco Endura 4 folding knife, the sort of tool that is sold openly by retailers in New York City and throughout the state, for mundane tasks like opening boxes and bottles. … According to Cracco and a co-worker who was with him, it took the cop four or five tries before he managed to swing the blade fully open with one hand — a feat that Cracco himself had never attempted. Cracco thus joined the thousands of New Yorkers who are arrested each year for carrying the tools of their trades or hobbies.” While New York’s gravity-knife law was upheld against earlier challenges, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty “in a March 27 decision declar[ed] the gravity knife ban “unconstitutionally vague” as applied to Cracco.” [Jacob Sullum, Reason, C.J. Ciaramella, Reason, earlier]
Over opposition from some powerful elected officials, efforts continue in New York City to reform knife laws “that effectively criminalize tools that vast numbers of Americans carry with them to work as electricians, stagehands and other tradesmen – a fact that helps explain why the reforms usually enjoy union support.” [James Varney, Real Clear Investigations; Jon Campbell, Village Voice] I wrote about this crazy law for Cato in 2014, and see these related posts.
Carsten Vogel had been a vociferous defender of New York City police practices against critics. That all began to change one afternoon at the Nostrand Ave. station for the A train, “when he was approached by an NYPD officer, who asked what he had in his pocket.” [Jon Campbell, Village Voice; earlier here and here]
Following three accidents in New York City, some grieving parents are asking for legislation mandating that TV sets carry warning labels that they’re heavy and can kill or injure you if you have the bad fortune to be underneath them when they topple over. (“Children killed by falling TVs”, AP/Newsday, Apr. 30).
- In move to protect itself against patent trolls, Apple plans to close retail stores in the troll-favored Eastern District of Texas [Joe Rossignol, MacRumors; Sarah Perez, TechCrunch]
- Don’t: “Civil Rights Lawyer Faked Cancer to Delay Cases, Illinois Bar Authorities Say” [Scott Flaherty, American Lawyer]
- Don’t: “* lies about joint stipulation for extension * FABRICATES OPPOSITION BRIEF * constructs false chain of emails, forwards to partner. Dude, just doing the work would have been WAY less effort.” [Keith Lee thread on Twitter, with punch line being what the New York courts did by way of discipline; Jason Grant, New York Law Journal]
- I’m quoted disagreeing (cordially) with Sen. Mike Lee on whether criticism of judicial nominees at hearings based on their religious views oversteps Constitution’s Religious Test Clause [Mark Tapscott, Epoch Times; my 2017 post at Secular Right]
- Colorado may become 13th state to enact National Popular Vote interstate compact, an attempted workaround of the Electoral College. This critique of the idea is from 2008 [John Samples, Cato; Emily Tillett, CBS]
- New York law imposes strict liability on simple possession of a gravity knife, leaves enforcement to official whim, and lacks a mens rea (guilty mind) requirement. The Constitution demands better [Ilya Shapiro on Cato Institute cert amicus brief in Copeland v. Vance, earlier and more on such laws]
- “They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?” [Rosa Goldensohn, New York Times in May, earlier on overdose prosecutions here, etc.]
- Also from May, missed this good Jill Lepore piece on rise of victims’ rights revolution, powered by both feminist and conservative impulses [The New Yorker; my comment on victim impact statements]
- UK: sexual assault cases collapse after prosecution shown to have held back material helpful to defense [Sky News]
- “The ongoing problem of conveniently malfunctioning police cameras” [Radley Balko]
- Bail reform activists shift focus toward problems with/tradeoffs of risk assessment algorithms, suggesting that previous “whole problem is private actors making a buck” theme might have been oversimplified [Scott Shackford, earlier here, here, here, etc.] Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signs comprehensive bail reform bill [Jazmine Ulloa, L.A. Times]
- Second Circuit: New York’s gravity-knife law isn’t unconstitutionally vague [opinion courtesy Institute for Justice, earlier]
- Today at Cato, all-day “Policing in America” conference, watch online; also check out recent Cato podcasts with Caleb Brown on the power of cop unions [Derek Cohen] and law enforcement drones [Connor Boyack];
- Despite recently enacted New Mexico law ending civil asset forfeiture, Albuquerque goes right on seizing residents’ cars [C.J. Ciaramella, BuzzFeed] Tulsa DA warns that asset forfeiture reform will bring headless bodies swinging from bridges [Radley Balko]
- Through court orders and settlements, Justice Department has seized control of the practices of police departments around the country. How has that worked? [Washington Post]
- Punishing the buyers: “The Nordic model for prostitution is not the solution — it’s the problem” [Stuart Chambers, National Post]
- “Plaintiff Wins $57,000 Settlement Over False Gravity Knife Arrest” [Jon Campbell, Village Voice] Will Republicans block reform of New York’s notorious knife law? [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit] Second Circuit on standing to sue by knife owners;
- Union-backed bill had Republican sponsor: “Bill shielding identities of police who use force passes Pennsylvania House” [Watchdog]
- Federalist Society convention breakout session on “Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform” resulted in fireworks [YouTube; Tim Lynch, Cato]
- “EEOC to court: never mind whether we use background checks too“;
- “Detroit man fights $30k child support bill for kid that is not his”;
- Carry work tools, get arrested: New York’s crazy “gravity-knife” law;
- “Blind man sues Redbox, alleges kiosks are not accessible to visually impaired”
- “Update: John Wayne heirs lose case against Duke University“
- Engineer’s solution to California affirmative-consent sex law: “simple push-button device which controls a separate panel with a red light and a green light.” More seriously, 28 Harvard law professors stand up for principle, if unsuccessfully;
- Forfeiture: “Iowa Troopers Steal $100,000 in Poker Winnings From Two Players Driving Through”
Aware of New York City’s penchant for prosecuting persons found in possession of knives commonly used in construction and design work, sculptor Jonathan W. “therefore chose the Spyderco UK Penknife… a non locking, slip joint folder, which should have been in the clear. But that wasn’t good enough for the NYPD (who arrested him), the DA (who charged him), or even his public defender (who recommended he plead guilty).” [The Truth About Knives] Earlier on NYC’s crazy “gravity-knife” law here and here.