Felony charges dropped against student caught with knives

Felony charges dropped against student caught with fishing knives

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Cody Chitwood, 17, was arrested last month for carrying a weapon in a school safety zone. Cody Chitwood, 17, was arrested last month for carrying a weapon in a school safety zone.
COBB COUNTY, Ga. -

A Cobb County teenager will get a second chance after four knives were found in his car in the parking lot at Lassiter High School.

Cody Chitwood, 17, was arrested last month for carrying a weapon in a school safety zone. A K-9 unit sniffed out firecrackers in Chitwood's trunk. Authorities searched the trunk and found the knives.

Chitwood was charged with possession of weapons on school property – a felony.

Joel Pugh says his client forgot four knives were in his car because he used them in a recent fishing trip. However, Georgia's zero tolerance weapons on campus law doesn't take that into consideration.

"The police officer had no discretion and there's our problem. It's taking away good common sense away from police officers and law enforcement officers in determining these types of situations," Pugh said.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds agreed with Pugh that Chitwood shouldn't be punished for forgetting that he had the knives in his tackle box.

"He proposed the idea of placing his client into diversion," Reynolds said.  "I agreed with him. I thought it was an appropriate recommendation. He's going into that program. He completes that program, we intend on dismissing this case."

Reynolds said that Cody won't even have a criminal record if he completes the diversion program, which means the teen can now fulfill his dream of being an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

"It could've resulted in a felony conviction on his record if cooler heads hadn't prevailed here and we hadn't been able to work this out," Pugh said.

Two state lawmakers are working on legislation to change Georgia's zero tolerance weapons law for school campuses. Reynolds is even working with one of them to draft a bill.

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