Clinic successfully advocates to restore citizen’s access to Burke County Sheriff’s Facebook page

After receiving a demand letter from the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office restored Mrs. Traci Hollingsworth’s access to their official Facebook page from which she had been blocked for over two years. Mrs. Hollingsworth’s husband, Jay Hollingsworth, is a former Burke County Sheriff’s Office sergeant who…

Clinic shakes loose records from Atlanta Public Schools sought by freelance journalists

Working on behalf of freelance journalists Hilke Schellmann and Clara McMichael, the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic has shaken loose documents from Atlanta Public Schools (“APS”) that the journalists had been seeking for more than eight months. APS is one of the largest public-school systems in Georgia, with an annual budget…

Court allows additional noncitizen clients of UGA law clinics to join First Amendment lawsuit; separate Senate investigative subcommittee makes key findings

On November 28, 2022, United States District Court Judge W. Louis Sands granted a contested motion filed by the First Amendment Clinic, the Community HeLP Clinic, and co-counsel to add two additional named plaintiffs to Oldaker v. Giles, a putative class action currently pending in the Middle District of Georgia. The lawsuit seeks redress for women who were…

First Amendment audits – Protecting the right to record

During the Fall 2022 semester, the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic trained over 70 local officials and more than 50 librarians around the state on the First Amendment right to record and how to appropriately respond to First Amendment auditors. A First Amendment audit refers to the practice of exercising one’s…

Clinic conducts state-wide training on court access

On October 21, 2022, the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic conducted a statewide program hosted by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation (GFAF) to better inform journalists, citizens, and government staff on the rules for court watching, covering trials, and obtaining court records. Court Access PowerPoint Slides* Link to recorded presentation The…

Call for increased campus dialogue around free speech

The following guest column by Clinic director Clare R. Norins was published by                          The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on October 4, 2022: In recent years, debates over safe spaces and cancel culture have put college campuses at the forefront of the polarizing and controversial national discussion…

First Amendment Clinic shares in $2.4 million grant to support local journalism

The University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic is honored to have been awarded a 3-year grant from The Legal Clinic Fund for Local News to fund a Georgia Journalism & Access Project attorney. Starting in 2023, this position will allow the Clinic to expand its legal services to local media, including freelance…

Clinic defeats motion to dismiss for photojournalist arrested during Summer 2020 protests

CASE UPDATE – On June 1, 2022, Judge Thomas W. Thrash (N.D. Ga.) denied Defendant City of Atlanta’s motion to dismiss. Plaintiff Sharif Hassan proceeds on First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment claims, as well as a claim under Georgia’s Open Records Act. Decision Denying Motion to Dismiss Congratulations to Ashley Waterfill (JD ’22), Marc Bennett…

Successful negotiation of Juneteenth parade route in Dothan, Alabama

May 2022 – The University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic, in partnership with the ACLU of Alabama, successfully negotiated a permit for Tri-State Expo (TSE)’s 2022 annual Juneteenth Celebration parade in downtown Dothan, Alabama. Read letter to City of Dothan officials Established in 2017, TSE is a community-centered organization that promotes small…

Clinic asks Georgia Supreme Court to affirm voters’ right to petition

Photo: Cumberland Island National Seashore In Camden County v. Sweatt, the University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment Clinic filed an amicus brief asking the Georgia Supreme Court to affirm Georgians’ constitutional petition-and-referendum power to veto legislative decisions by their county commissioners that go against the will of the people they were elected to…