In an eight-page response filed in Cobb Superior Court on Tuesday, Head repeatedly points out the entry into the pretrial diversion program — in which defendants charged with certain offenses can pay a fee and do community service to avoid prosecution and a criminal record — is at his discretion.
Head also writes that Colotl, who was charged with a felony charge of making a false statement, completed program requirements, including 150 hours of community service, done at the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club, and paid the fees.
“The Court allegedly took the matter under advisement, and some months later explained that she had in fact thrown the tendered nolle prosequi away,” Head writes.
As for Staley’s contention that Head’s office did not adequately address concerns of Sheriff Neil Warren, who brought the felony charge against Colotl after she gave an old address while being booked in to Cobb Jail after being arrested for driving without a license, Head writes that “neither Sheriff Warren as the head of the investigating agency, nor any other person or entity, has any statutory authority to disctate denial or acceptance into the Pretrial Diversion Program.”
Judge Staley also wrote in her September order that she was unaware of defendants with other charges being allowed in the diversion program.
Yet Head insists that’s not true — and cites a 2007 case involving Judge Staley’s own sister.
“Individuals charged with False Statement and even Forgery in the First Degree have been successfully admitted into the Pretrial Diversion Program. (See State v. Linda Staley Clark).”
“To deny Ms. Colotl the benefit of the Program, which she successfully completed ... would be arbitrary and capricious. As noted above, there is nothing about this Defendant’s charge that is exceptional or in her record that is disqualifying given other eligibility criteria,” Head writes.
Judge Staley could not be reached late Tuesday afternoon.
As for whether this will end the legal back-and-forth surrounding Colotl’s Cobb charges, Head couldn’t say.
“I don’t know if anything is ever resolved in Georgia,” Head said.
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 then insisted he was not notified of — and in fact opposes — diversion for Colotl.