Illegal student found guilty

MARIETTA, Ga. --- An illegal immigrant college student whose arrest for a minor traffic violation touched off a wider immigration debate was found guilty Thursday in a suburban Atlanta court of driving without a license. But jurors acquitted the 22-year-old woman of a second charge arising from the traffic stop last March.


Jurors in Cobb County found Jessica Colotl guilty of driving without a license after about 30 minutes of deliberations. They acquitted her of a second charge of impeding the flow of traffic stemming from the stop.

"I don't agree with it, but I have to follow the verdict," Colotl said.

Attorney Jerome Lee said Colotl will appeal the verdict.

Police at Kennesaw State University northwest of Atlanta stopped the political science major March 29 in a car on a campus parking lot. There was little dispute Thursday over facts as prosecutors and Colotl's defense both agreed she was in the driver's seat and didn't present a valid license at the time.

After briefly detaining her, Cobb authorities turned her over to federal immigration officials once they learned she was in the country illegally. She was 11 when her parents crossed the border with her from Mexico.

Colotl spent 37 days in immigration detention but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials subsequently agreed to delay action on Colotl's case for a year while she completes her studies.