clear
Friday August 28th, 2015 1:29AM

Gainesville attorney representing appellant in challenge to Ga. driver's license law

By Staff
ATLANTA - A Mexican citizen who has been living in Georgia is challenging as unconstitutional the state law that requires driver's licenses, arguing that it discriminates against undocumented immigrants and creates an incentive for law enforcement officers to racially profile.

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case Monday.

According to court documents, in January 2010, Officer David Cesar with the Gwinnett County Police Department pulled over a van driven by Fernando Castillo-Solis after determining from a computer check that the vehicle's registration had been suspended.

Castillo-Solis is represented by Gainesville attorney Arturo Corso.

When Cesar discovered Castillo-Solis was also driving without a license, he issued two citations, and in August 2010, the State filed a two-count accusation against Castillo-Solis, charging him with No Valid Driver's License and Failure to Register Vehicle.

Castillo-Solis then filed motions to suppress the evidence and void or "quash" the No License statute as unconstitutional. At a hearing on the motion, the parties agreed that Castillo-Solis was a citizen of Mexico who had been living in Georgia for 10 years.

The state called an attorney as a witness who testified that undocumented immigrants who encounter U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement through the 287(g) program are subject to deportation. She also testified that an undocumented immigrant can be deported for driving without a driver's license. The 287(g) program is a joint federal and state program that allows local law enforcement agencies to partner with ICE to receive delegated authority for immigration enforcement within their jurisdictions.

In Georgia, Cobb, Gwinnett, Hall and Whitfield counties' sheriffs' offices, as well as the Georgia Department of Public Safety, have 287(g) agreements with ICE. In September 2010, the trial court denied Castillo-Solis' motion to suppress the evidence and find the statute unconstitutional. Prior to trial on the charges, Castillo-Solis now appeals to the state Supreme Court.

CASTILLO-SOLIS' ARGUMENTS:

His attorney argues that the trial court erred in denying the motion.

He argues that 2008 amendments to the No License statute, which increased penalties and required fingerprinting upon conviction, along with the 287(g) program at the Gwinnett jail "work in concert to create a discriminatory scheme to target undocumented immigrants for arrest and deportation from the U.S."

The attorney argues the statute, Official Code of Georgia § 40-5-20, is unconstitutional because it contains a "retroactive amnesty provision" for Georgia citizens only, which constitutes an "irrevocable special privilege" that is prohibited by the Georgia Constitution. Under the statute, it is a crime to drive without a Georgia driver's license after being a resident for 30 days. However, if a Georgia citizen commits this crime but obtains a license prior to trial, the statute says "he or she shall not be guilty.

" As an undocumented immigrant, Castillo-Solis may not ever obtain a license. Therefore, he is denied the right to defend his cause, his attorney argues. The No License statute violates his due process and equal protection rights by denying him a right to a fair trial through the denial of a defense as a result of his not being able to obtain a Georgia driver's license prior to trial. "[U]ndocumented aliens are denied this absolute defense when they are denied the right to obtain a Georgia license prior to trial," the attorney argues in briefs.

"This was the very purpose of the new law
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Cornelia posts revised sign ordinance, extends moratorium
The Cornelia City Commission has extended its moratorium on freestanding sign permits until Oct. 7.
9:33PM ( 3 hours ago )
Dump truck driver injured when truck overturns near Cleveland
A dump truck driver was injured in an accident around 1 p.m. Thursday when he lost control of his truck on Highway 115 west of Cleveland and overturned, dumping a load of gravel onto the roadway.
9:06PM ( 4 hours ago )
Superintendents talk education sales tax with GHCC leaders
With a fall referendum just over a couple of months away, the two public school system superintendents in Hall County talked about education sales tax Thursday afternoon.
4:55PM ( 8 hours ago )
US stocks end sharply higher; Dow up 369
U.S. stocks are closing sharply higher after China's main stock index logged its biggest gain in eight weeks. A report also showed that the U.S. economy expanded at a much faster pace than previously estimated.
By The Associated Press
4:33PM ( 8 hours ago )
Dogs seized from Stephens Co. puppy mill ready for adoption this weekend
More than three dozen dogs seized from a puppy mill in Stephens County last week will be up for adoption in the Atlanta area this weekend.
2:00PM ( 11 hours ago )