CLARKSVILLE, TN — A teen’s future is in jeopardy after police officers decided to troll through a high school parking lot searching students’ parked cars for contraband. When they cops found a fishing knife during their warrantless mass search, they slapped him with weapons charges and saw that he was suspended from school.
David Duren-Sanner, age 18, is a high school senior only months from graduation. He’s a member of the JROTC and had plans to go to prom. He was applying to go to college. But life took an unexpected turn when sheriff’s deputies came to his school to look for reasons to imprison students.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m completely innocent, and I should have my normal life back.”
On February 20th, during what is called a routine, random lockdown, officers combed through the school searching students’ property without probable cause or a warrant. Officers snooped through students’ backpacks, purses, lockers — even their parked vehicles. The 4th amendment is utterly disregarded as a matter of policy.
Duren-Sanner had driven his father’s car to school that day. His father had left some of his work tools in the car, namely a fishing knife he uses for his job as a commercial fisherman. Unfortunately for the young man, his father’s car was selected by police for a warrantless search.
Deputies opened up the parked vehicle and searched its contents. The fishing knife was discovered wedged between the seats. Durren-Sanner was now in serious trouble.
Tennessee law makes all schools into weapon-free zones. Regardless of violent intentions, possession of numerous arbitrarily banned items can make a person into a felon for life. As Tennessee Code 39-17-1309 (b) states:
(1) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.
(2) A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class E felony.
The same section prescribes the following punishment:
FELONY. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF SIX (6) YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.
He had never been in trouble with police or the school before. But forgiveness was too much to ask — this was a matter of zero tolerance.
A person can literally have their life ruined based on something that was done harmlessly, without malice, without aggression, without a victim — without even being aware of the offense. A trivial, harmless accident can turn a person into a felon. “It’s unfortunate that the school system and sheriff may ruin this boy’s future because he borrowed his dad’s truck to go to school.”
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department followed through to make sure the kid felt the full force of the law. They charged him with possessing a weapon on school property and turned the matter into the school, which punished him further with a prolonged suspension from school — endangering his graduation and future plans.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Duren-Sanner to WSMV. ”I’m completely innocent, and I should have my normal life back.”
“The student code of conduct clearly states that cars are subject to search; that searches will be conducted; and that students are responsible for the contents in the vehicles they drive to campus,” said a statement issued by the school system, condoning the situation. “We want our students to have a safe environment and feel secure at school.”
The penalties imposed on Duren-Sanner have sparked outrage from the community, and many who heard his story.
I’m going through all the old pages of your site, since there are numerous nuggets of truth herein. I know that this is an old article now, but I couldn’t help raising some questions about the validity of this charge brought against David Duren-Sanner.
I have a couple of questions WRT the statute used to ruin this kid’s life. One key phrase is in the first line, “…It is an offense for any person to possess or carry…”. Another that comes to mind is,”…with the intent to go armed…” The third deals with the phrase, “…not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes…”
So, it is illegal to possess or carry any of the weapons, including knives, listed in the statute. Since he was driving his father’s vehicle; since the knife was IN the vehicle; since the knife was obviously not on his person, could it not be argued that he wasn’t carrying the weapon? Could not also be argued that he didn’t possess this knife, since it belonged to his father? Wouldn’t that alone make this charge spurious and weak? Ah, but there’s more!
Since David Duren-Sanner left the knife in his father’s vehicle; since he didn’t CARRY it on his person; couldn’t it be argued that he had no INTENT to go armed? Wouldn’t this intent be demonstrated by CARRYING the knife on his person? Wouldn’t his intent to go armed be shown by taking it to where it could be used? Since he did NOT have the knife with him, how can intent be demonstrated? Is there any intent at all? I don’t think so.
The final phrase I wish to look at deals with only using such items for instructional or ceremonial purposes. Since Mr. Duren-Sanner didn’t have the knife with him, couldn’t it be argued that he wasn’t using it for ANY purpose? Couldn’t it be argued that since he wasn’t using it for any purpose-ceremonial, instructional, or otherwise-that this statute doesn’t really apply here? Since the statute doesn’t really apply (knife not used for ANY purpose); since it’s not really on point (no intent to go armed); couldn’t it be argued that he cannot be CHARGED for violating it? Wasn’t this weak charge to bring against Mr. Duren-Sanner?
What does THAT say about those who BROUGHT these charges? Shouldn’t they read, understand, and know the law? Shouldn’t they be able to see that what David Duren-Sanner did wasn’t against the spirit of the law? I mean, if his intent were to harm anyone, wouldn’t he have had the knife WITH him? How can he use it if he’s in the building, while the knife is in the car? Don’t these people think? Uh, that was a RHETORICAL question! Those are my thoughts…
I realize this is an old article but I have to question something. The article states that the kid’s father is a commercial fisherman, in Tennessee?
commercial fishing is usually seasonal and spent on a boat. You can live where ever you want.
“We want our students to have a safe environment and feel secure at school.”
How is that going to happen with crap like this going on?
And note the phrase from the quoted “law” – “with the intent to go armed.” How have they/can they prove his intent, since it was not even his car? This goes back to the now dead principle of “mens rea” – without the intent to commit a crime, there is no crime.
Yeah, ‘The Law’ is dead.
Here’s a real hero in action:
lockdown (noun) the confining of prisoners to their cells, typically after an escape or to regain control during a riot.
a state of isolation or restricted access instituted as a security measure.
“the university is on lockdown and nobody has been able to leave”
[noun: lockdown; plural noun: lockdowns; noun: lock-down; plural noun: lock-downs]
also lock-down, from 1940s in various mechanical senses, from lock (v.) + down (adv.). Prison sense is by 1975, American English.
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I hate seeing NAP adherents using their prisenglish. Admittedly it does capture exactly what has happened to America becomes a Heimat.
Heimat – homeland. A state being whipped into a frenzy as a means of control.
prisengligh – prison english. Language of a state isolated from other nations. See North Korea.
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You have to learn to see through this crap.
You have to reject illegitimate state conduct completely.
That means if they get the list of Ares Armor customers, and start prosecuting people, you refuse to play along.
Like you should have refused in many similar situations. Like that time when Heidi Fleiss was a victim of statecrime.
You can’t babble and cackle like Babbits when these police state purges occur. Renew your resolve. Refuse to participate. Refuse to listen to their “evidence.”
Worse case: You’re only human. Laugh at the jokes. Shake your head at the gossip. But then negate the process and “go limp.”
Become doggedly resistant to this kind of thing. Don’t willingly yield one single inch of movement along the road to Serfdom.
Speaking of ‘Lockdowns’. They have added new twists to ‘Lockdowns’ I was not aware of:
“Another type of drill began occurring in 2012. These are called “evacuation drills” or “relocation drills” and the kids are put on a bus and taken to a location that is not disclosed to parents. […] they must surrender their cell phones because they will not be allowed to call anyone […] During these drills kids are not allowed to phone their parents and parents are not even allowed to know where their children are in many cases. In some incidences during which the school forewarns parents about the drill, the parents are told that they cannot pick up their children “for any reason” during the drill. Many schools now boast of having supplies to keep children at the school for 48 hours in the event of an “emergency” during which time the children will not be released to their parents.
And it gets even worse. In the name of predictive programming, do you recall a “drill” during which the police took over a school and practiced fighting “angry parents”? […]
The ‘event’ in question would likely need to be mass scale, or perceived as mass scale, in order for a parent to be so adamant about getting their child out of the school that they would take to armed violence to get them out.
Is this what police are training for?” …
Oh mang, this is the dummest thing I’ve heard all day.. I just woke up though!
Does the sentence fit the crime? (rhetorical)
This highlights an unintended (perhaps intended) consequence of zero-tolerance policies.