Georgia

5. Pleading format.

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. The complaint typically seeks issuance of an injunction to remedy past and/or prevent future violations and is accompanied by a motion and supporting memorandum to the same effect. Where time is an issue, the motion should request entry of an immediate injunction and request that the court hear the matter on an emergency basis.

11. Mug shots.

Mug shots are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.

(1). Information required.

The Act makes no distinction between regular and emergency meetings with regard to the minutes required, except that in the case of a meeting held on less than 24 hours notice, the reason for holding the meeting on less than 24 hours notice and the nature of the notice must be recorded in the minutes. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d).

5. Have agencies imposed prohibitive fees to discourage requesters?

In Trammell v. Martin, 200 Ga. App. 435, 408 S.E.2d 477 (1991), a Georgia county government attempted to bill an individual citizen almost $2,300 for copying fees and $90 an hour for legal review of the documents. The court held that the requester may not be required to pay for legal review and ordered that the copies be billed at the cost of what would have been the most economical method of copying. See also McFrugal Rental v. Garr, 262 Ga.

H. Post-trial records

Overview

Georgia

Post-trial records are also presumptively open. See The Atlanta Journal-Constitution v. Long, 259 Ga. 23, 24 (1989) (vacating an order sealing from public access “all pleadings and discovery, either pre-trial or post-trial, for the duration of the records’ existence”).

F. Liveblogging and Twittering

Overview

Georgia

No specific case law or Georgia statute deals with liveblogging or twittering from Georgia state courts.

6. Material is not cumulative

The Georgia privilege cannot be overcome where a party seeks testimony or materials that would be cumulative of existing evidence. See, e.g., In re Paul, 270 Ga. 680, 682 (Ga. 1999) ("Not only does the state have at least two confessions on videotape, where the jury can observe the defendant, but the state also presented expert testimony of a forensic psychiatrist. Thus, the state does not need the reporter's testimony to prepare or present its case to the jury concerning Jill's mental state when he confessed to police.").

E. Are there sanctions for unapproved comment?

The Act does not set forth any sanction for unapproved comment.

S. Vital statistics.

Information as to the availability of Georgia vital records is detailed by the Georgia Office of Vital Records on its website at http://health.state.ga.us/programs/vitalrecords/.

f. Tape recording requirements.

There are no tape recording requirements for closed meetings under the Act.