Ga. House bill blocks graphic crime photos

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:58 AM
Last updated 5:25 PM
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 ATLANTA -- The House voted unanimously today to block distribution of crime-scene photos that show dismembered body or the victim's genitals.

With little debate, the House quickly approved and immediately sent to the Senate legislation supported by House Speaker David Ralston. It was in response to the request from Hustler magazine for copies of crime-scene photos from the 2008 murder of recent University of Georgia graduate Meredith Emerson, whose nude and dismembered body was found days after her kidnapping while hiking in North Georgia.

Ralston assigned Rep. Jill Chambers, R-Atlanta, to formally sponsor the legislation because she has been a champion in previous sessions for opening more government documents to the public.

Chambers told her colleagues that the Open Records Act was never intended to allow for the release of crime-scene photos to be used for sensationalism.

"Meredith Emerson wanted to make a difference in this world," Chambers said. "Passage of this bill will prohibit the exploitation of crime victims, future and current ones."

Credentialed journalists would be able to inspect the photos under supervision by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. And the legislation would not block the release of all photos from crime scenes like Emerson's, Chambers said, only those that actually show her genitals or mutilation.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers said earlier in the day that the Senate would also act quickly to pass the bill.

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baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 03/16/10 - 02:34 pm
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Might as well just wipe our

Might as well just wipe our arses with the Constitution with the likes of these irresponsible lawmakers.

reader54
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reader54 03/16/10 - 05:00 pm
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Boy, this is a pressing piece

Boy, this is a pressing piece of legislation!

corgimom
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corgimom 03/16/10 - 06:39 pm
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There is a book in the Nancy

There is a book in the Nancy Carson Library that has a picture like that. I've checked out literally thousands and thousands of books in my life, and that is the only book that I've ever filed a complaint about. It was obscene. It did not contribute to the story in any way, shape, or form.

disssman
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disssman 03/16/10 - 07:21 pm
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And I'll guarantee you one of

And I'll guarantee you one of the illustrious ones invoked the P.C. clause of the day "we need to protect the children". That in and of itself is sufficient to pass any legislation.

disssman
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disssman 03/16/10 - 07:24 pm
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P.S. if we can block and

P.S. if we can block and secrete document for public officials for 50 years, why can't they do the same for victims?

jack
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jack 03/16/10 - 08:26 pm
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Agreed Dissman, especially

Agreed Dissman, especially documents related to a sitting President such as his college transcripts, etc.

baronvonreich
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baronvonreich 03/16/10 - 10:25 pm
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I hope Hustler and/or other

I hope Hustler and/or other media outlets sues the you-know-what out of the state of Georgia. It isn't up to some legislator from Atlanta to interpert what the Open Records Act was and was not "intended to allow." That is the height of irresponsibility and ignorance. The ORA is very, very clear and doesn't provide the House of Representatives nor the likes of Chiquita Johnson the authority to decide which requests get filled.

Ignorant sheep would give all their rights back to the government if they could.

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