A man who brought a loaded handgun to a child custody hearing in Redwood City will not serve more jail time for the crime after he proved that he didn’t know the firearm was in his backpack.
James Knapp, 46, of Sacramento, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one misdemeanor count of bringing a weapon into a courthouse on July 12.
Knapp was initially slapped with felony charges after sheriff’s deputies spotted the weapon in his backpack as it went through the x-ray machine at the Hall of Justice.
Prosecutors agreed to the lesser charge after Knapp’s relatives provided statements that proved he had no intention of bringing a gun into the courthouse.
“He wasn’t coming to the courthouse with a weapon with intent to do anything,” San Mateo County Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt said Wednesday.
The firearm was legally registered to Knapp, who doesn’t have a criminal record, Pitt said.
Knapp was headed to a family law court hearing in order to petition for a modification of his child custody order, authorities said.
After the gun was found, Knapp allowed authorities to search his car, where another magazine for the handgun was found in the glove compartment, prosecutors said.
He was booked into the Maguire Correctional Facility and posted bail soon after.
Knapp insisted from the start that he didn’t know the gun was in his backpack and was prepared to face a jury in a trial scheduled for Oct. 16.
After pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge Wednesday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Lisa Novak sentenced Knapp to two days in county jail. He was credited for already serving those two days and thus won’t serve any more time.
But he’s not completely off the hook. He was placed on two years probation. As part of the probation, he is banned from possessing any dangerous or deadly weapons or ammunition, Pitt said. He must also submit to any warrantless police search or seizure over the next two years.