Proving the Crime of Possessing a Knife In New York

In People v. Dumas (68 NY2d 729) the Court of Appeals held that misdemeanor complaints alleging the criminal sale and/or possession of marihuana are facially insufficient where they contain a conclusory statement that each defendant sold marihuana but fail to support that statement with evidentiary facts showing the basis for the conclusion that the substance sold (and/or possessed) was actually marihuana, since the factual part of a misdemeanor complaint must allege facts of an evidentiary character (CPL 100.15 [3]) demonstrating reasonable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime charged (CPL 100.40 [4] [b]). This rationale, however, has never been extended to the crime of possessing a gravity knife. Weapons such as gravity knives, pilum ballistic knives, switchblade knives and metal knuckle knives have a very specific meaning in the statute and the definition should be strictly construed. However, by the same token, because of their specific definitions, these weapons do not require further pleadings to support the conclusions as to what they are.