Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. is trying to be more proactive when it comes to crimes involving knives. Last year, In Manhattan alone, there were 2,269 arrests involving the possession of illegal knives. Mere possession of certain weapons such as “gravity knives” and “switchblades” is punishable as an “A” misdemeanor pursuant to New York Penal Law 265.01 – Criminal Possession of a Weapon on the Fourth Degree.
According to the District Attorney’s website, DA Vance, Jr. has reached an agreement with national and local retailers of knives that are illegal in New York. Retailers, such as Home Depot, Eastern Mountain Sports, Paragon Sports, and four others, will enter into deferred prosecution agreements. The law permits these companies, like individuals, to be prosecuted for crimes – a fact recently addressed by DA Vance in an earlier press release. In return, these companies will provide the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office the past four year’s profit. In total, that amount is approximately $1.9 million. Additionally, the companies will finance an education campaign regarding illegal knives. Lastly, Frederico Gebauer, a managing director at Kroll, Inc. and former Manhattan prosecutor, will serve free of charge as the District Attorney’s “Knife Sales Monitor” to review and keep track of knife sales. Hopefully, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office recognizes that many upstanding people who possessed knives for legitimate purposes, such as for work, purchased these knives from these and other stores assuming (with good reason) that there was nothing illegal about it.
According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office press release, “the $1.9 million will be distributed to the City and State: 10 percent will be given to the State ($190K); 51 percent will be given to the City ($969,000); and the remainder ($741,000) set aside for our law enforcement partners.” It is interesting to note that District Attorney Vance, Jr.’s approach to redistributing the wealth and detailing how the monies will be shared differs from the past when New York City complained of not getting a larger piece of the forfeiture pie.
This program and investigation by District Attorney Vance, Jr. is not over despite its apparent success to date. In fact, the District Attorney’s Office website is clear:
“The District Attorney’s Office has begun Phase II of the investigation, targeting out-of-state vendors selling to New York residents – which is a serious crime. Those companies are opening themselves to prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”
For further information on Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree and knife crimes, please follow the highlighted link.
Crotty Saland PC is a New York criminal defense firm. Prior to founding the practice, the New York criminal defense attorneys at Crotty Saland PC served as prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.