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Bike footrests not the same as illegal metal knuckles, California Supreme Court decides

Despite police contentions that gang members deploy bicycle footrests as illegal metal knuckles, state law does not prohibit people from carrying footrests, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday, overturning two lower courts.

Los Angeles police stopped bicycle rider David V., 14, one afternoon in August 2007 because he was not wearing a helmet. The office found a metal bike footrest – a cylinder about 4 ½ inches long and about 1 ½ inches in diameter -- in the boy's pocket and determined it did not fit anywhere on the boy's bike.

David was charged with illegal possession of metal knuckles. A juvenile court judge, determining that David carried the device as a weapon, sustained the petition, and an appeals court agreed.

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown's office, arguing in favor of prosecution, had likened footrests to clutch purses, which the fashion industry says are "worn in the hand," his office said.

The state high court dispatched its verdict in a brief, 10-page ruling, determining that footrests were not "worn on the hand" and that David had not violated the law by carrying one.

"Metal knuckles of the usual sort, which are fitted to the hand, generally with holes for the fingers, are 'worn ... in or on the hand,'" the court said, quoting the state Penal Code. "But a metal cylinder like the footrest in this case is not, in ordinary usage, said to be 'worn' when held in the hand."

Even if common terminology in the fashion industry considers a purse to be worn, wrote Justice Carol A. Corrigan, "it is unlikely that the Legislature would have considered it in connection with a weapons statute."

-- Maura Dolan

Comments () | Archives (8)

There needs to be some other way to lock up these thugs.

i think that california should outlaw metallic objects all together. and rocks. and shoestrings. and sharp things. the fact is, people will attempt to harm each other with anything on hand. if they dont have anything on hand, they will kill each other WTH their hands. you cant arrest a 14yr old kid for having a bike part in his pocket.

Another legal loophole for the thugs. Way to go California "Extremes". No wonder the state is circling the drain.

Ca. should tax bicycle foot rests, to help close the budjet deficit.

everything is considered a weapon now
why don't they just regulate how much air we breathe
even if it is a weapon he could use it for self defense if someone tries to hurt you

police just try to meet their quota


There's the bicycle peg loophole, the wrench loophole, the roll of quarters loophole, the flashlight loophole, the rock loophole...

The problem is with thugs, not what they carry.

I do not understand where the officer can come up with illeagal possession of metal knuckles to charge this young man.The officer found a bicycle pedal in his pocket not in his hand, nor attached to the young mans hand.
We have to deal with facts here folks. We can not be running around arresting people for something that has not happened,just because you beleive it it will.
Right is Right and Wrong is Wrong.

Even if he carried the cylinder as a weapon does not mean he is a bad kid.
Many women carry a similar weapon made of wood to protect themselves
from rapist. I openly carry a swiss army knife which I can and will use as a weapon if I'm forced to but I'm an engineer.


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