Possession of a Gravity Knife in New York

In People v. Brannon (16 NY3d 596, 949 NE2d 484, 925 NYS2d 393 [2011]), defendant was walking down a Manhattan street. As he passed by the police, an officer saw the hinged top of a knife in defendant's back pants pocket. That officer later testified that the knife defendant possessed looked like a "typical pocket knife" (Brannon, 16 NY3d at 600). The Court of Appeals held that, in order to have reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual possesses a gravity knife, the detaining officer must have reason to believe that the object is indeed a gravity knife based on: (1) his or her training and experience; or (2) discernable aspects of the knife itself. In Brannon, the officer never testified that he suspected the knife was a gravity knife. Hence, suppression was appropriate.