LAW WASN’T RETROACTIVE
Because he was found in possession of a “gravity knife,” on July 18, 2018, A.N. pleaded guilty to one count of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
Soon thereafter, after the New York State Penal Law was amended and the mere possession of such a knife was “decriminalized,” A.N. asked the Appellate Division, Second Department, to reverse the conviction, but the court declined to do so.
In its decision, the AD2 noted that since the legislative amendment was not “retroactive,” a party may still suffer punishment for violating a law which then was in effect. Distinguishing between punishment reductions (which are often retroactively applied), and decriminalization (which is not), the AD2 reiterated that the “`State may prefer to retain the right to prosecute for the act previously committed in deliberate defiance of the law as it then existed.’"
Talk about possessing gravity ….
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