Ga. Supreme Court ruling baffles open government advocates

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Ga. Supreme Court ruling baffles open government advocates

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A recent ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court sharply curtails the ability of citizens and journalists to listen to what goes on inside the state’s courtrooms. DAVID BARNES / AJC

When is a record of court not a “court record?” When the Georgia Supreme Court says so.

In a recent decision, the justices ruled that the public has no right to access audio from inside the state’s courtrooms. “Disclosure,” a popular legal affairs podcast, had sought recordings from a 2001 murder trial in Floyd County, and the idea that they would not be public record puzzled the podcast’s attorney James Cobb.

“If these types of records are not court records … I don’t know what else they could be,” Cobb said in oral arguments before the court.

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