Clinic co-counsels in lawsuit filed on behalf of immigrant women retaliated against for speaking out

The University of Georgia School of Law’s First Amendment and Community HeLP Clinics are co-counsel in a consolidated petition and class action complaint filed in Oldaker v. Giles, 7:20-CV-00224-WLS-MHS (M.D. Ga.), on behalf of fourteen women, and others similarly situated, who allege medical abuse, neglect, and retaliation in violation of their First Amendment rights while…

Clinic’s amicus brief argues against judicial narrowing of Georgia sunshine law

In December 2020, the First Amendment Clinic authored an amicus brief to the Georgia Court of Appeals challenging a trial court decision that, if left in place, significantly weakens Georgia’s Open Records Act (ORA). Writing in the case of Love v. Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company, LLC — on behalf of fellow amici the Georgia Press…

Clinic wins free speech protections against online censorship

The First Amendment Clinic settled a lawsuit against Douglas County Commissioner Kelly G. Robinson for blocking a county resident from his interactive Facebook page that he used to communicate with the public about his official activities after she criticized his response to constituent concerns. The settlement obtained in Bohanan v. Robinson, 1:20-cv-02641-JPB (N.D. Ga.) provides…

Clinic helps women abused while in ICE detention speak out

(Photo: protestors demonstrating outside Irwin County Detention Center) “22 women just went public with graphic descriptions of medical abuse in ICE detention,” reported Vice (11/19/20). The First Amendment Clinic, together with UGA’s Community HeLP Clinic, represent one of these women and are helping all 22 to tell their stories in federal district court in the…

Clinic challenges Open Meetings Act violations by City of Forest Park

The First Amendment Clinic is representing independent journalist Robin Kemp of the Clayton Crescent in challenging Open Meetings Act violations by the City of Forest Park, Georgia.  For months during the COVID-19 pandemic, the City failed to provide effective remote public access to its Mayor and City Council meetings while excluding Ms. Kemp from reporting…

Clinic files retaliatory arrest case against Camden County Sheriff’s deputy

  On Thanksgiving Day 2018, retiree Emma Jane Prospero called Camden County 911 to report persistent gunshots being fired near her home, which she believed constituted a safety threat and a noise ordinance violation. In retaliation for Mrs. Prospero’s complaint, Deputy Ryan Sullivan of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office swore out an affidavit for Mrs….

Clinic provides training and legal assistance to collegiate and independent journalists

On October 8, 2020 the First Amendment Clinic delivered its third media law training to collegiate journalists at universities across Georgia. In line with the Clinic’s mission to educate the public about their speech and press rights, the Clinic presented to the Cluster newspaper staff at Mercer University, the Grady Newsource staff at the University…

Clinic presents to Georgia municipal attorneys & public officials on social media blocking

On September 17, 2020, the First Amendment Clinic presented to over 100 Georgia municipal attorneys on the current state of the law regarding public officials blocking constituents on social media. A critical mass of courts — including the three Circuit Court of Appeals to have so far addressed the issue — find that it constitutes…

Clinic files amicus brief arguing ‘false information’ law chills journalists

On August 13, 2020, the First Amendment Clinic, in collaboration with PEN American Center, Inc., filed an amicus brief in Puerto Rico’s federal district court arguing that a recently enacted ‘false information’ law chills journalists from reporting on public emergencies and burdens the public’s First Amendment interest in receiving information from the press. Amicus Brief…

Douglas City Council adopts Clinic’s recommendations for protecting free speech

Earlier this year, the City of Douglas in Coffee County, Georgia adopted new Rules of Procedure and Order (“Council Rules”) for its City Council meetings and hearings.  Among other problematic aspects, these new rules contained multiple provisions affording unfettered discretion to the Mayor as the presiding officer – or the City Council as a body…