Colotl’s case began in March 2010 after a traffic stop on the campus of Kennesaw State University. She didn’t have a driver’s license and was taken to Cobb Jail, where she gave jailers an old address as her current one. An illegal immigrant, she also was turned over to federal immigration authorities, who later let her stay in the United States.
But the false address then resulted in a felony charge of making false statements. Head’s office allowed Colotl to perform community service and pay a fine rather than be prosecuted, which raised the ire of Sheriff Neil Warren. His office brought the felony warrant against Colotl and he insisted he was not notified of — and in fact opposes — diversion for Colotl.
Nearly a year ago, Staley called Head, Warren and Colotl into her courtroom for a hearing on the issue.
In the order she signed Monday, Staley gave two reasons for rejecting the “no prosecution” request.
“The victim and initiating agency in the case, the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, has raised legitimate concerns that have not been adequately addressed as far as this Court is aware,” Staley wrote. “Further, the Defendant has misdemeanor convictions, which has consistently disqualified entry into the Cobb County diversion program. The Court believes all similarly situated Defendants should be treated in the same manner.”
Head said Friday that he intends to file a motion for reconsideration next week.
“I believe that everyone in this office has an ethical duty to carry through with any agreement that is made with a defendant,” Head said. “Ms. Colotl made an agreement and she has done everything that she was required to do. I believe current law prohibits prosecuting this case further.”
Sheriff Warren, though, lauded Staley’s order.
“I appreciate the fact that Judge Staley has the courage to uphold the rule of law despite pressure from advocacy groups and others who would afford special privilege to those who flaunt our laws,” Warren said in a statement. “Ms. Colotl deserves no special consideration in the criminal justice process for decisions she made as an adult to violate the laws of this state. Judge Staley’s order cited the fact that Ms. Colotl has a prior conviction, which prevents her participation in the Cobb County diversion program. Affording her special treatment in this situation would send the wrong message to our youth and other members in our society.”
In November 2010, a State Court jury convicted Colotl of driving without a license, a misdemeanor, but cleared her of impeding the flow of traffic, also a misdemeanor charge.
Her attorney, Jerome Lee, appealed her conviction, but the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld her conviction and the Georgia Supreme Court later declined to hear the case.
Her traffic case then returned to State Court, and this past June, Colotl was ordered to serve the remainder of her original jail sentence, which amounted to about 10 hours.
Her attorneys could not be reached for comment Friday.