transparencyprojectofgeorgia

Sunshine Q&A: When is it okay to share a public document?

In Advocacy on July 31, 2014 at 1:06 pm

A Georgia journalist contacted us to ask whether it’s appropriate to share documents obtained through an open records request, whether or not the agency that provided the document was fully authorized to do so. The question is a valid one: If one agency won’t provide the information because it’s part of an “ongoing investigation,” what’s to stop an individual from obtaining it from another channel? In this case, the county coroner provided an autopsy in response to a perfectly legal open records request. But there’s a caveat: Is the journalist who obtained the document allowed to share it? The answer: Definitely. As Hollie Manheimer says, “To the extent you obtained a public document through proper legal channels, there are no restrictions on sharing it.” Read her complete answer here.


Sunshine Q&A is a complimentary service of the Transparency Project of Georgia and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, a federal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  These opinions should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your own attorney for individual legal advice. Submit your questions about open government here.

Sunshine Q&A: When are police records public?

In Uncategorized on July 21, 2014 at 9:06 am

The short answer: Most of the time.

The Open Records Act is crafted in a way that if there’s any question about whether a document would be classified as public or not, it always leans toward transparency. The most common type of record requested by individuals from law enforcement agencies are police incident reports. These are always public, although just a few pieces of information may be redacted in order to protect a person’s identity (i.e. social security number, day/month of birth, mother’s maiden name, passwords…) In the most recent Sunshine Q&A, Hollie Manheimer points a reader to the Blue Book, a resource available at the Georgia First Amendment Foundation for law enforcement agencies. The booklets are useful to the general public, as well, as they spell out exactly what’s public and what’s not. Contact the First Amendment Foundation to request copies of the book, or download it here


Sunshine Q&A is a complimentary service of the Transparency Project of Georgia and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, a federal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  These opinions should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your own attorney for individual legal advice. Submit your questions about open government here.

Sunshine Q&A: How does the Open Records Act affect job applicants?

In Advocacy on July 18, 2014 at 11:34 am

If you’ve ever applied for a job with a municipality, you know how exhaustive a process it can be. But, what happens if you don’t get the job and want to know why? It’s not always as easy as calling up the interviewer. It’s important to know what the Open Records Act says about documents related to prospective employees. Journalists can use this information for perspective when requesting information about candidates for a public position. Hollie Manheimer is on Sunshine Q&A today with more.


 

 

Sunshine Q&A is a complimentary service of the Transparency Project of Georgia and the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, a federal 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  These opinions are those of Hollie Manheimer, Executive Director of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, but should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult your own attorney for individual legal advice. Submit your questions about open government here.

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