DA returns fire on Cobb judge over illegal immigrant
by Kim Isaza
October 17, 2012 01:47 AM | 10008 views | 32 32 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
District Attorney Pat Head
District Attorney Pat Head
slideshow
Judge Mary Staley
Judge Mary Staley
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MARIETTA — District Attorney Pat Head has taken Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary E. Staley to task in his response to her earlier refusal to sign off on ending prosecution of illegal immigrant Jessica Colotl, reiterating that he does not intend to prosecute the former KSU student.

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.
Comments
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Donald Cho
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November 01, 2012
I'd be saisfied to drop all charges against Ms. Colotl if she is deported back to Mexico forthwith and post haste!
Leaving Office
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October 20, 2012
Sometimes, when people get ready to leave office, they start doing what's right, not just what's politically popular. I wish the politicians (including those judges) would run everything with integrity.
Julie notsobright
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October 17, 2012
Pat Head is a self promoting, elevator shoe wearing, ill educated,pompous, fool. He got caught with the hot potato of illegal immigration In his hand and typically try's to throw it to someone else. He is a pathetic creature.
Thank you, Mr. Head.
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October 17, 2012
Thank you, Mr. Head. It's not fair to treat Ms. Coloti different from other people.
Richard Pellegrino
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October 18, 2012
Well said...Mr. Head is showing an example of what equal protection and justice under the law for all is...something others in Cobb apparently haven't learned yet.
Agent 99
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October 17, 2012
Google Superior Court Judge Mary Staley for the truth about her. The internet shows numerous indiscretions, including her alleged writing of a false affidavit filed in the United States District Court in the name of a subordinate employee. The information shows how Staley fought against a sworn deposition after the employee exposed her as the writer of the affidavit.

Staley was recently criticized by the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals for mishandling a murder trial when she accepted a chocolate male body part from a jury member and failed to discipline that member and also failed to notify the prosecution and defense.

Pat Head does his job with the highest degree of professionalism. Mary Staley has a retaliatory and mean spirited character. When Colotl’s attorney once described a hearing as a press conference for Mary Staley, Colotl was doomed from that point forward. Staley was going to get back some way, show how, and this is how she did it. She refused to sign off on the diversion agreement even though Colotl had complied fully.

Mary Staley should be removed from the bench. With judges like her there is no hope for justice.

anonymous
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October 17, 2012
"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"



—Emma Lazarus, 1883



so right
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October 17, 2012
So people like to spout off without knowing the whole story. I totally agree why would we prosecute a non violent person for giving a false name. These judges should be looking at their backed up calendars and moving that instead of dealing with something so minor. Also do you know how many people are booked in the jail and give the wrong address everyday and warrants aren't taken on them, why did the sheriff pick on this one girl, because she had already been in the news, maybe the Sheriff is racial profiling. I encourage all of you to go to the Clerk's website and read to order the DA filed. He listed other examples besides Judge Staley's relative, oh but wait as long as her relative got her case handled that's ok.
Bob Bummer
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October 17, 2012
Why would the court not end the case you ask? Because of job security for themselves and fellow attorneys. Their is an excess number of people with law degrees and they all need something to do.
DA is vindictive
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October 18, 2012
The difference is Judge Staley's sister did not have a prior conviction and the DA should not have brought her up in this case. That is just political revenge.
Oimintheknow
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October 17, 2012
Pat Head has been an excellent DA. The new DA represented a cop killer and a firefighter killer. Some of us know about the new DA skeletons that are hidden but not forgotten too.
tired of it
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October 18, 2012
The new DA is not much better, you can bet his buddies will get what they want when he takes over. Its not about justice its about who puts money in your pocket for election. certain attorney's get preferential treatment and the new DA is one of them.
Pat H
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October 17, 2012
Mr. Head, you have less than 2 months to continue to represent special interests instead of taxpayers.

You are on the wrong side of the law on Jessica Colotl, who would have been deported already except for the intervention of KSU president.

Once you are finally gone, maybe Cobb EMC owners can expect to see Dwight Brown in the slammer.

Thank you Judge Staley and Sheriff Warren for understanding that we want illegals deported. Ms. Colotl received funding from HOPE and was not entitled but she lied on her application. She received free schooling through high school and free medical care. How about repaying the good citizens for all that money expended on her behalf?

The original picture of her at her KSU society, had her in front of a Mexican flag and was used in the news when initially arrested.
Hobnail Boot
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October 17, 2012
Dear xenophobe, I'm not sure who you speak for when you say "we want illegals deported", but I can assure you that you don't speak for all of Cobb County. Pat Head made an appropriate decision based on the facts of this case. And Neil Warren may be a well meaning fellow, but he has gone too far with his zealous anti-immigrant policies to the point that he is just this side of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. I bet if you sat down with Ms. Colotl (or just about any illegal immigrant who was brought here by their parents) for thirty minutes, your entire opinion would change. But I'm guessing you, like much of this county's populace, think too highly of your self to actually get to know "those people" so I won't hold my breath.
DonSilva
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October 17, 2012
Dear boot...that is what she should get, as she is a foreign national in this country illegally. All the other feel good stuff you mention is not only irrelevant, but is down right distracting to the point at hand. Now, beat it...boot.
Richard Pellegrino
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October 18, 2012
Pat H, I guess you are a bully and support bullies because that is just what the Sheriff and Judge are in this case--and like typical bullies to hide their own inadequacies they have to pick on others--in this case a young, college girl. Anyone who votes for and supports Sheriff Warren, who is a bully with a badge (that he never earned like real law enforcement professionals) but just bought through his political pandering to other bullies, is a bully (I don't know about the Judge but it appears she is in the same category.) I feel sorry for them and anyone who agrees with them.
Tyler Durden
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October 17, 2012
Kudos to the District Attorney.

Maybe resources should be used to arrest and prosecute real law breakers, there are plenty of illegal aliens that are in gangs (see Sur 13, 18th street, Brown Side, Vatos Locos) that are running wild in Smyrna...how about dealing with those actual lawbreakers instead of a college student that used an old address during a traffic violation???

Thumping your chest and hollering about the border does not make you more of an American, it just makes you annoying.
Julie Smart
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October 17, 2012
I am surprised but not surprised that the DA would stoop so low as to his mud slinging and being very tacky about bringing up the case of Mary Staley's sister. This case has nothing to do with the Colotl case. You and your wife Beverly Collins just felt like this was pay back to embarrass Judge Staley and also an opportune moment to get back at her for all the years you have displayed your dislike of her. She is a pillar of the community and displays grace and integrity, something you have lost sight of. Happy retirement.
Julie Notso
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October 17, 2012
Mary Staley's sister's case has a lot to do with the decision that Mary Staley incorrectly made, though, and that's why it was brought up.

The judge said she didn't know of anyone with other charges being allowed into pretrial diversion. The judge's sister was allowed into pretrial diversion with other charges. The DA rightly pointed this out because the judge is using false statements to justify an exercise of authority that doesn't even belong to her.
The Whole Truth
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October 17, 2012
The truth of the matter is most of the lawyers around Marietta are glad to see Pat Head leave office. He's become onery, difficult and unreasonable. Be thankful we're getting a new DA. Judge Staley, as usual, did the right thing, and shameful Head dragged her sister into this.
u can say that again
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October 17, 2012
becoming ??? he's been that way for years ! Even when he was solicitor general. Let's not forget he was beating in that re-election bid only to be returned to higher office by voters not paying attention. He is probably the worst D.A. this county has ever had.
VFP42
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October 17, 2012
As a government when you create an environment of fear in a subset of residents, they WILL lie to you.

Surely there were some Jews in 1930s Germany making false statements too.

And HOW about those lying Serbs in Bosnia...

And those CRAZY Tutsi Hutus in Rwanda! They can't even get their story straight about whether they's named Tutsi or Hutu!!

Lie lie lie! They must all be exterminated oops I mean deported because they are lying liars!!
VFP86'd
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October 17, 2012
Bad analogies. None of these groups of people had slipped into their countries illegally and continued to lie to cover up that fact. Got to give you credit for trying though as this this is the first time I have heard Mexican illegals compared to Jews in Nazi Germany. I am sure those walking among us that have to look at their wrist tattoos each day are still picking their jaws up off the floor.
Reality Check
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October 17, 2012
VFP42,

There will always be a variety of opinions and perspectives on any issue... but to try to draw a comparison between our modern day immigration issues and the evil of Nazis murdering millions of innocent civilians... or, to reference the murderous genocide of countless in Bosnia... well not only is that categorically wrong but I dare say that you'd be hard pressed to find much support for such a statement.

If you would have said that this issue may be a case of selective prosecution because of issues surrounding Colti's immigration status... well that would show you're an intelligent or reasonable person with a valid perspective to share. In such a case, people could either agree or disagree with such perspective using their articulated arguments. That's simply proper discourse.

However, your comments betray that you're, and I'll use highly advanced medical terminology, "coo coo for cocoa puffs." The comment you posted not only doesn't help further your perspective on this issue, it hinders it. It also serves to lessen the horrors and pure evil of what those in the past have experienced, the repeated murders and torture of people's family, friends, and children.. by attempting to compare that to some modern day court proceedings. Shame on you... but considering what you posted, you won't give any credit to a thing I typed.
Just Sayin....
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October 17, 2012
Way to go DA Head!!! Enough of this is enough. If it was good enough for the judge's sister, it should be good enough for anyone. As for the sheriff, who I respect greatly, it is time for you to stop getting into the politics of this and focus on running your department. Time for this issue to be done with.
gagirl06
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October 17, 2012
Also, those who don't know the actual facts of a case shouldn't assume that what is reported is correct.
I'm Just saying ...
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October 17, 2012
The Sheriff is an elected office and therefore IS political. So get over that part. By the way he is a good sheriff and runs a good dept but nobody likes to have their case thrown out. Now, leave it to DA Head to make it personal with the Judge. He can't defend the years long practice of throwing out cases so he brings up the Judge's sister. Nice Mr. Head, very classy.
Just Sayin....
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October 17, 2012
I'm Just Saying - The role of the sheriff is to enforce law...not prosecute law. When the two roles become one we have a possible violation of our constitutional rights. He is more than welcome to express a view or defend his actions. He is not welcome to inject himself into the prosecutorial process. Do you really want that to be in the hands of ONE person or group??? I never spoke badly of him or the job he has done. Please re-read my comments. In general, I think he is a fine sheriff, and from all accounts a stand-up guy. In this instance, however, I disagree with this crusade against this girl. It is time to move along. With regards to the judge, politics aside, it comes with the territory, and you know that when you sign on for the job. Her Honor is more than capable of defending herself, and is also aware, as a politician, that such things that are unfortunately out there.

With regards to DA Head throwing out cases, I suspect you would be amazed to learn that every single jurisdiction in the US, throws out cases on a daily basis...and some are for actually heinous crimes. I would much rather he use his limited resources to prosecute drug dealers, gang members, or white collar criminals. These people cause me more potential harm than this business has or will. BTW, we also vote for Insurance Commissioner, do we want him or her prosecuting our cases?
On the Job
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October 17, 2012
What's "exceptional" Mr. Head is that she's an illegal alien or undocumented person or migrant worker or whatever or however you want to make the name sound politically correct.

She should be deported like every illegal immigrant is when they commit crimes against the laws of countries they illegally entered or remain.

It will be nice when you're no longer representing this county's DA's office. It almost sounds as though you're doing someone a favor. Do you have a personal connection to the people who illegally employed her? Maybe Customs and Immigration will pay them a visit too.

Good riddens.

but still ignorant
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October 17, 2012
Sounds like your beef is with the Federal Government. Or did you miss the fact that she was granted multiple deferments, permitting her to remain in the US legally until those deferments expire, and be granted the same legal rights afforded everyone? It was mentioned in the news more than once. You either read selectively (which is manipulative) or you are lazy. Either way, you might consider being seen and not heard as you contribute nothing to an intelligent discussion.
Madidi4377
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October 17, 2012
Yeah, I understand where you are coming from, but but this charge and his decision not to prosecute has nothing to do with her immigration status. If you would like to make a cogent legal argument in the future, I would encourage you to attend law school. It would prevent you from sounding like an idiot, again.
Richard Pellegrino
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October 18, 2012
Sorry...you may be on the job but you are off on the truth...she has been granted legal status, just like your and my ancestors, so she is not longer an "illegal immigrant" unless you and I still are.
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