Felony Charges Dropped Against Young Undocumented Student at Heart of Immigration Debate

A nearly three-year legal battle has come to an end for a young undocumented immigrant whose 2010 arrest sparked a national debate over U.S. immigration policy, particularly the right of undocumented immigrants to attend public universities. Thursday, a Cobb County, Georgia, judge dismissed a false-swearing charge against the now 23-year-old Jessica Colotl stemming from her arrest on March 29, 2010. A Kennesaw State University (KSU) police officer stopped Colotl, a KSU student, for a traffic infraction on campus. She was arrested the following day after failing to produce for authorities a valid driver’s license. Colotl’s case has been widely publicized nationally, drawing renewed attention to the use of 287(g) programs, which allow local police agencies to enforce immigration law and detain suspected undocumented immigrants.

Former CDC Director Says NRA “Terrorized” Gun Violence Researchers

The Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) has published numerous studies analyzing firearms-related deaths and injuries data, but over the last 16 years, the NCIPC hasn’t conducted a single study exploring why such acts of violence take place. The reason, several former CDC directors say, is because pro-gun lobbyists made the topic of gun violence research forbidden through several measures adopted in the mid 1990s. In 1996, several legislators co-sponsored an amendment that would cut the CDC’s budget, with a House Appropriations Committee adopting an additional amendment that prohibited CDC funding “to advocate or promote gun control.” Eventually, $2.6 million was removed from the CDC’s budget — the exact amount that the NCIPC spent on firearms injuries studies a year prior. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has long been critical of the CDC, with NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre recently telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) that he believed the agency was promoting a political agenda through the NCIPC in 1995. Other gun proponents agreed.

Choosing to Stay and Fight For Kids in Trouble

“What happened in your life that made you a passionate advocate for kids?” When Jane Hansen, Information Officer for the Georgia Supreme Court, asked me this question last week during an interview, I thought, “Whoa — the question assumed something happened to me.” Now I am paranoid — what does she know that I don’t? I have known Jane going way back to my days as a parole officer when she was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution — she has a keen sense of things. This “happening” resides in the recesses of my mind, something that rises to the surface from time to time when triggered by an event, song, or a question.

Mom of Teen Beaten to Death Calls for Change in Juvenile Justice System

The mother of 18-year-old Bobby Tillman, who was beaten to death after a house party early Sunday morning, is lobbying for tougher juvenile laws. Monique Rivarde tells WXIA she will campaign for a new law named after her son requiring mandatory counseling for teen offenders with tougher punishment for kids who keep getting in trouble. As for the four teens charged with murdering her son, she feels that it’s too late for them. In the wake of Tillman’s murder, more than 600 people attended a teen summit Thursday night in Douglassville to discuss ways to stop senseless violence in the community. The crowd included high school and college age kids along with school and law enforcement officials, according to the AJC.

Four Teens Charged with Murder in Beating Death

An 18-year-old boy was killed at a house party in Douglasville, Ga Saturday night, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Four other teenagers, ages 18-19, were arrested for the death of Bobby Tillman. They have been charged with murder. More than 70 kids turned up at what was supposed to be a small house party. After parents ended the party a fight broke out outside the home between two girls.

Forsyth County Most Aggressive in Fighting Teen Sexting

There have been at least 10 sexting cases in the Forsyth County school system over the past four years. This is what drives sheriff’s investigator Jeff Roe in his campaign against sexting and Internet based sex crime among teens, according to the AJC. He visits schools with a blunt message: kids have committed suicide after being exposed on the Internet and in picture text messages. He urges students to take the problem seriously by not participating in any form of sexting, explicit text messaging or sharing of lewd images online. Is the reach out to the community working?

Congress to Grill Craigslist on Sex Ads – GA Advocates Applaud

Advocates fighting the child prostitution problem in Atlanta are cautiously optimistic about Wednesday’s congressional hearing targeting Craigslist. The world’s largest online ad service is sending William Clint Powell, the director of customer service and law enforcement relations for Craigslist, to answer questions from the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee about adult ads and the role that online services play in child prostitution. “[Craigslist is] definitely the market leader in [prostitution] and as they go, others may go,” said Kaffie McCullough, campaign director of Atlanta’s A Future Not a Past. The group is fighting the child prostitution problem in Georgia with research, intervention, and education while pushing for prosecution of pimps and johns. Under growing pressure from attorneys general across the country, Craigslist deactivated its adult services section in the U.S. on September 3, but the section remains open in other countries.

Teen’s Emotions End in Triple Murder

Adults often wonder what kids are thinking when they do horrible things. The story of 17-year-old Anthony Tyrone Terrell, convicted of killing his own family, reveals a tragic thought process that came out in open court last Friday. Terrell had an argument with his mother about a girl. Rather than ending with a slammed door, Terrell killed his mother and two younger sisters. The AJC published his statement about what went on in his head:
“I never planned what happened that day,” Terrell told Superior Court Judge Debra Turner.

DeKalb DA Resigns to Work for Feds

The DeKalb County District Attorney Gwen Keyes Fleming resigned Wednesday. President Obama has appointed her to the post of the regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. As District Attorney, Fleming managed 13,000 cases a year and oversaw 165 employees. She will now oversee eight states, including Georgia, and six tribal nations, according to the AJC. It’s up to Governor Purdue to appoint a replacement.

School Sued for Handcuffing Child

A first grader in New Orleans is the new poster child for excessive school discipline.  The boy, identified as J.W., was arrested, handcuffed and allegedly shackled to a desk by school police after arguing with another child over a seat in the lunchroom.   The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a class action lawsuit Thursday in Federal Court, claiming the arrest for a minor violation of school rules is unlawful and a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.   Read the complaint here. The complaint names the elementary school principal, school superintendent and security director, and was filed on behalf of all children in the school.  SPLC Attorney Thena Robinson says, “We’re hopeful this [lawsuit] will send a powerful message. We have to treat kids with dignity.  There are ways to keep kids safe and treat them with dignity.” The boy’s father, Sebastian Weston, says his son was treated like an animal is now terrified of school.   Watch his statement in this video from WWL-TV

A spokesman for the Recovery School District confirms the incident happened May 6, and two security officers were fired, but would not comment further.