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Name: In re David V.
Case #: S167716
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 02/08/2010

A bicycle footrest that is not attached to the hand does not constitute possession of “metal knuckles,” prohibited by Penal Code section 12020, subdivision (c)(7). An officer stopped the 14 year-old-minor for riding a bicycle without a helmet and searched him, finding a bicycle footrest in appellant’s rear pants pocket. Although the system of attachment of the footrest was fairly basic, the officer was unable to affix it to appellant’s bicycle, or find a device to secure it on the bicycle, or locate a place on the bicycle where the footrest could be attached. At trial, the officer testified that a bicycle footrest was commonly used as a “metal knuckle.” The appellate court rejected appellant’s sufficiency of evidence challenge, noting that with amendments to section 12020, subdivision (c)(7), the Legislature had evinced an intent to reach objects such as bicycle footrests that can be held in the hand and used for offensive or defensive purposes. Utilizing rules of statutory analyses and looking to the 1984 Senate Judiciary Committee Analyses of modifications to section 12020, subdivision (c)(7), the Supreme Court, reversed. It found that a cylindrical object, such as the footrest here, that cannot be “worn . . . in or on the hand [with particular attention given to the definition of worn]” does not meet the definition of metal knuckles. The Court declined to disapprove In re Martin Alonzo L. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 93 which dealt with a leather wallet with inch long spikes embedded along one edge, so spaced as to fit between the fingers if the wallet were held in the fist.