Student faces possible prison time after a pocket knife is found in his car
by Leo Hohmann
September 11, 2013 06:00 AM | 12509 views | 27 27 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Andrew Williams
Andrew Williams
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ACWORTH – A student was arrested last week and charged with a felony after an assistant principal searched his car and found a pocket knife in the console.
 
Andrew Williams, 18, parked his car in the school parking lot at Allatoona High School the morning of Sept. 5. A campus officer received an anonymous tip from another student who claimed to have smelled marijuana coming from Williams’ car. 
 
The officer notified assistant principal Sam Sanford, who called Williams into his office. Williams reportedly told Sanford that he did in fact drive the vehicle in question to the school that morning. Sanford went to the vehicle with Williams “and searched the car for marijuana,” according to the warrant.
 
“While searching the vehicle, Mr. Sanford located a pocket knife in the center console with a 3-inch blade,” the warrant states. It further states that Sanford smelled marijuana in the car but did not find any marijuana.
 
Williams told Sanford that he knew the knife was in the car and that he kept it there in case he was involved in an accident and needed to cut off his seat belt.  The resource officer placed Williams under arrest and had him booked into the Cobb County jail on charges of “carrying a weapon within a school safety zone,” which is a felony. 
 
If found guilty of this charge it is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and two to 10 years in prison.
 
Williams was released the next day on a $5,000 bond.
 
Allatoona High School is located on 3300 Dallas Acworth Highway.
 
Comments
(27)
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David, Mableton, GA
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September 20, 2013
This is Cobb County, why are they hiring filthy liberals to run the schools? The school board should answer to how that dumb monkey got the job here in the first place, he belongs in Massachusetts or some other place where they love fascists.

Naql
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September 19, 2013
Wow, silly law, complete lack of common sense displayed by Mr. Sanford, who sounds like a real piece of work.
Jerry Shaw
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September 17, 2013
The man should have his lawyer request dismissal of charges based on second amendment to US constitution. Some state constitutions have the same clause. The law against knives in cars violates "...the right to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged" clause of the second amendment.
gguldens56
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September 17, 2013
(7) A person who is licensed in accordance with

The code section listed below explicitly exempts legally owned weapons by licensed individuals from the school weapons ban for items left in a car while parked at a school.

Now, there are two issues here that may make this not apply in this case, the student was 18 and does not qualify for a WCL. It is also unclear whether or not the specific knife found actually qualifies as a weapon under state law.

It would seem a good argument to make that if the knife does qualify as a weapon under state law, then it should not qualify as a weapon for the schools. Having multiple definitions of what a weapon is can be confusing to the public and lead to this exact scenario.

The other good argument to make would be that if Georgia Weapons Carry Law states it is OK for a licensed individual to leave a weapon in a vehicle parked at a school, then that same exclusion should apply to a student possessing something that does not even qualify as a weapon.

Code Snippett below:

Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10, when such person carries or picks up a student at a school building, school function, or school property or on a bus or other transportation furnished by the school or a person who is licensed in accordance with Code Section 16-11-129 or issued a permit pursuant to Code Section 43-38-10 when he or she has any weapon legally kept within a vehicle when such vehicle is parked at such school property or is in transit through a designated school zone;
Billy Bob
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September 15, 2013
WTF. There can't be any sane person that can look at this story and say anything but are you kidding me. Sounds to me like someone was in over there head and had to find something to justify illegal search. This will do in a pinch. Just WOW. CYA is what this all about. Sorry goes out to Andrew and his family for such injustice. Is this really all these clowns have to do in a day.
Anonymous345
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September 15, 2013
The bigger question is why the student or his father didn't defend the marijuana allegation. Makes you think the student was smoking it as reported. The campus officer should have searched the vehicle based on his probable cause. Too often school administrators overstep their authority and in this case an illegal search was conducted. The campus officer should have took the lead in this investigation. Too often campus officers have their authority questioned or regulated by administrators and are not allowed to properly do their job.
Concerned Citizen
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September 15, 2013
PLEASE people, email your congressmen, senators, and education board members. This is ridiculous and should not be put up with.
Tired of it
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September 14, 2013
Instead of leaing comments on the internet that doesn't accomplish a thing..CALL the members of the Georgia house and senate,and your local school boards and voice your opinions.

They are the ones responsible for this stuff and they are the only ones that can changes it. If they don't change it..change them.

As long as you confine your comments to the internet, you remain one of the anonymous silent majority.

Dehlekan
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September 14, 2013
Sounds like Nazi Germany, next, SS at our doors. Thanks to Big uncontrolled Government!
Aminata
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September 17, 2013
African American students have been dealing with this kind of treatment from schools for decades, regardless of their background. When black kids get busted, it's discipline. When white kids get busted for the same stupid stuff it's Nazi Germany? C'mon already! Welcome to the America your conservative votes created.
reply to Aminata
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September 20, 2013
Please bring up race where race isn't an issue! We all know black kids get in trouble more than white kids and, yes, it sucks, but that's not the issue here. And last I checked, it wasn't conservatives causing all the problems. A liberal is "leading" this country, ya know.
Unbelievable MDJ R
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September 12, 2013
This is BEYOND stupid. Zero tolerance over common sense and taking it case by case is so over the top of ridiculous, it is funny!
Frustrated citizen
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September 12, 2013
Can someone advise how we can stop such rediculousness. Does it take law changes, school board changes. Etc. how can we specifically send a message that this must stop or people involved will be impacted or removed.
David Holmes
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September 12, 2013
A three inch pocket knife in a car possesses far less danger than say an ordinary screw driver or any tool one might carry in a car. If he had a rifle or a pistol then that would be different, but a small pocket knife that every rural boy growing up in North Ga carries or carried at one time? That's absurb. To ruin a life over someting that trival is a waste of law enforcewment resources and taxpayer money not to mention looking at the law through the wrong end of the telescope.
Anon192
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September 20, 2013
Never mind the fact that it was hidden in the center console.
Absurdity
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September 12, 2013
This is absurd. A tire iron could also be a weapon, as could those tools that are designed to smash a window.

Sounds like the informant had an issue with this student and was just looking for a way to get rid of him. So now instead of graduating, this student will cost Georgia taxpayers how much per year for up to the next ten years? 40K? More?
psucarrierae
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September 11, 2013
This is ridiculous. The kid didn't bring a weapon into the school, didn't threaten anyone, and the search was being conducted for drugs. Just another example of bullying by officials. I hope the judge has some sense and drops the case.
Butler Reynolds
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September 11, 2013
Don't you just love the smell of statism?
Just wow
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September 11, 2013
When we went to school there were hunting rifles in the windows of most of the guys trucks. And pocket knifes were worn on their belts. Its crazy we live in a world were good people pay the price for crazy people. It is a shame that this kids his entire future will be on the line over a knife his grandmother gave him. She had given it to him when he started driving because one of his friends was in a bad wreck and could not get out of the car. Suspended I get but a felony?
Randy42
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September 11, 2013
This is ridiculous. This shouldn't even be a crime, much less a felony.
Gringo Bandito
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September 11, 2013
This is an absolutely absurd law.
Diamond Jim
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September 11, 2013
This is the most stupid, mindless nonsense I have ever seen, and shows how far our country has sunk into political correctness. The kid was not carrying the knife, did not threaten anyone with it, and as a practical matter the principle probably had no right to search his car based on some "anonymous" tip in the first place.

I think it is high time the taxpayers and voters in Cobb County rose up and took our school systems back from these morons who are making a mockery of individual freedom and our constitution. If the school board will not make the necessary changes, then vote them out and elect constitutional conservatives who will!!
@ Diamond Jim
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September 12, 2013
This is a state law matter. Not a school board matter. The school board has no authority to alter the state law if that is your intent. See O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 which addresses:

Carrying weapons within school safety zones, at school functions, or on school property
jasper proctor
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September 11, 2013
this seems excessive to me. Don't they need a search warrant. And why does the school and news media destroy this person.
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