Georgia

3. Contents of request for ruling.

Any request for a ruling from a court of law should state the grounds on which the request is based, including the specific provisions of the Act that the agency has violated or will violate in the future. Suits to enforce the Act are typically initiated by filing with the court a verified complaint against the agency officials who have violated or threatened to violate the Act, explaining the violation and describing the relief sought.

D. Dispositive motions and records

Overview

Georgia

Georgia state courts have recognized a right of access to dispositive motions. See Atlanta Journal v. Long, 258 Ga. 410, 413 (1988)(court reversed the trial court's order sealing certain records where the parties sought to shield public access to virtually all of the pre-judgment records, including the pre-trial order and motion for adjudication on the merits); BankWest, Inc. v. Oxendine, 266 Ga. App. 771, 778 (2004) (sealing of a summary judgment transcript reversed).

F. Privacy

Overview

Georgia

In enforcing the State’s commitment to open courtrooms and court records, the Supreme Court of Georgia has consistently emphasized, for example, that embarrassment and reputational harm are not sufficient interests to justify closure. See, e.g., Atlanta Journal v. Long, 258 Ga.

(2). Are minutes public record?

Minutes are public records. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e)(2).

c. Source is an eyewitness to a crime

Georgia courts have upheld the privilege in the context of a subpoena seeking the identity of a news reporter's source who is an eyewitness or participant in a crime. See Stripling v. State, 261 Ga. 1, 8-9 (1991) (affirming trial court's protection of reporter's confidential sources under the privilege in a death penalty case where the reporter refused to disclose the identity of former sheriff's department employees who informed her of a "systematic policy of eavesdropping" on attorney client conversations at a county jail).

C. Administrative appeal.

The Act does not require or otherwise provide for administrative appeals.

1. Revenues.

Absent express statutory authorization for imposing revenue-generating fees, agencies must use the most economical means available for providing copies of public records. 

10. Fines.

The Act makes knowing and willful violation of its provisions a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-6. See also Jersawitz v. Eldridge, 262 Ga. 19, 413 S.E.2d 725 (1992) (judge lacked authority to order judicial officers and judges not to issue arrest warrants based on alleged violations of Open Records Act).

B. Dependency

Overview

Georgia

In Georgia, a court dependency proceeding stemming from a petition alleging that a child is a deprived child is presumptively open.The court may close the hearing in a deprivation proceeding only upon making a finding on the record and issuing a signed order as to the reason or reasons for closing all or part of a hearing in such proceeding. The court can only close such a hearing on two grounds: (1) the proceeding involves an allegation of an act which, if done by an adult, would constitute a sexual offense; or (2) it is in the best interest of the child.