Student Faces Felony Weapons Charge For Fishing Gear In Car
Posted in the Lucedale Forum
Since: Sep 09
#1 Oct 8, 2013
Cody Chitwood is a 17 years old senior at Lassiter High School in Cobb County, Georgia and loves to go fishing. Without thinking about it being a problem, he loaded his fishing gear into his car so he could go fishing after school. His timing stunk. Police showed up at the campus with drug-sniffing dogs to perform a random search. A dog hit on Chitwood’s car indicating the presence of black gun powder. That gave police probable cause to conduct a full search of his car.
It turns out that the black gun powder was residue left from a 4th of July firecracker. But during the search, the police found Chitwood’s tackle box and when they opened it, they found his fish cleaning knife. Since the school has a zero tolerance policy, Cody Chitwood was arrested and charged with a felony weapons charge. He was released on $1,000 bail. If found guilty of the offense, he could face 2-10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It would also kill his dreams of joining the Air Force after graduation.
Read more: http://godfatherpolitics.com/12784/student-fa...
Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/12784/student-fa...
Since: Jun 12
#2 Oct 14, 2013
Every time I hear the words "Zero Tolerance Policy" all I can think is that they have outlawed common sense. Public schools have a giant overreach into the lives of students.
It is very important that you teach your children how to deal with these unlawful searches. Just because you're a minor on state property doesn't mean you've given up your 4th Amendment Right to Refuse a search. In fact the supreme court ruled that you can even refuse to have a K9 search you, you just have to let them know, "I don't consent to any searches".
These rights though infringed upon more frequently on government property still exist.
There is only 1 entity that can take away your rights, he wrote, a book, and its a world-wide best seller and has been for over 1k years.
#3 Oct 21, 2013
You are absolutely incorrect concerning searches on school property. Research New Jersey v T.L.O. That can give you some good input on searches and seizures on school grounds.
Since: Jun 12
#4 Oct 22, 2013
No. You are mistaken. You see reasonable suspicion is still required. Sadly we are misled by several word puzzles the government gives us "Probable Cause" "Reasonable Suspicion" "Mere Suspicion". Reasonable suspicion is a step before probable cause. At the point of reasonable suspicion, it appears that a crime may have been committed. The situation escalates to probable cause when it becomes obvious that a crime has most likely been committed. Federal jurisdictions use mere suspicion which would be considered a step before reasonable suspicion, but it all boils down to being the same thing suspicion.
In any case they have to prove suspicion. If you are being searched by a drug dog in a line, in a hallway, or being removed from a classroom and being searched where is the suspicion?
Can they have reasonable suspicion that a child in a classroom has drugs and search the entire class? No. Because they don't have reasonable suspicion that the other 50 students have drugs.
Your student no matter the circumstance should state if being searched by a drug dog or an official " I do not consent to any searches". Never consent to a search and never allow the government to search your children even when they are at school.
Teachers are allowed to question your child however if it is in any relation to a criminal or disciplinary action your child does not have to respond and should only respond with. "I don't feel comfortable talking to you, I'd like to speak with my parents"
I encourage you to also recognize that though in this case the supreme court appears to change the 4th Amendment ever so slightly in using the words "reasonable suspicion" That it doesn't change at all.
Even if it had changed say "reasonable suspicion" wasn't part of the case...would you give up your child's 4th amendment right?
If the supreme court ruled that your 4th amendment right can be taken away would you give it up? Some would but I like to err on the side of the founders.
You don't lose a right given to you by the Laws of Nature and of Natures God(DOI) just because the supreme court says so. It is a right and they are imbued in every man/woman from before birth. Endowed on us by the Creator. I encourage you to read the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Primer, The Holy Bible, and The Laws of Nature and of Natures God. If you like you can also watch some pretty awesome videos by Michael Badnarik and the ACLU's videos on Flex Your Rights.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is only my opinion not legal advice.
#5 Oct 23, 2013
Now, I don't necessarily agree with every decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court. But, they decide what can be legal or illegal. And, in 1985, the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision concerning searches and seizures and students' rights during those searches and seizures, specifically in public schools. By a 6-3 vote, they decided that school administators don't need to have a search warrant or probable cause before conducting a search because students have a reduced expectation of privacy when in school.
That does bring up "reasonable suspicion", since it wasn't specifically defined in the case. And you bring up some very good points concerning that term. But, reasonable suspicion can be many, many things. It could be just a thought in a person's head and the person being searched doesn't have to agree with it. And, as far as public school law goes, safety trumps all and I believe that's why the New Jersey v T.L.O. verdict is as it is.
I think our differences in opinion are that you would probably argue that the person searching must show and prove reasonable suspicion while I would argue that the person being searched must show and prove there is no reasonable suspicion to be searched.
You do bring up very good points and I agree with you on many of them. Very good discussion.
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