The Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 1322 today by a vote of 163-0. Sponsored by Representative Jill Chambers (R-North DeKalb), HB 1322 prevents the dissemination of graphic images of the genitalia, dismemberment or decapitation of a crime victim.
“The Open Records Act was never intended to allow dissemination of crime victim photos for the purpose of sensationalism or prurient interests,” said Representative Chambers. “The passage of this legislation will prohibit the exploitation of crime victims while providing fair access to the press.”
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Some of the provisions of HB 1322:
(2) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (3) of this subsection, in the case of closed criminal investigations a superior court may order the disclosure of such photographs or video recordings upon findings in writing that disclosure is in the public interest and outweighs any privacy interest that may be asserted by the deceased person’s next of kin. In making such determination, the court shall consider whether such disclosure is necessary for public evaluation of governmental performance, the seriousness of the intrusion into the family’s right to privacy, and whether such disclosure is the least intrusive means available considering the availability of similar information in other public records. In any such action, the court shall review the photographs in question in camera with the custodian of crime scene materials present and may condition any disclosure on such condition as the court may deem necessary to accommodate the interests of the parties.
(3) Prior to releasing any crime scene material described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the custodian of such material shall give the deceased person’s next of kin at least two weeks’ notice. No court shall order a disclosure pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection which would disregard or shorten the duration of such notice requirement.