Norins and Peters moderate libel law panel for Bar Media & Judiciary Conference

DISINFORMATION AND POLARIZATION: IS LIBEL LAW A CAUSE AND/OR A CURE? On February 25, 2022, Clinic Director Clare Norins and UGA Professor Jonathan Peters moderated a panel discussion with Nora Benavidez (Free Press), Tom Clare (Clare Locke), and Lee Levine (retired from Ballard Spahr) about the benefits and challenges of using libel actions to combat…

Public access to the courts – first of its kind guide in Georgia

The First Amendment Clinic has collaborated with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to create a first-of-its-kind guide to accessing state and federal court records and proceedings in Georgia. Referred to as the “Yellow Book,” the guide is organized by type of court and type of access. It uses a digestible question-and-answer format that allows readers…

Clinic defends independent journalist in #MeToo defamation case

  Krass v. Obstacle Racing Media, LLC, et al., 19-cv-05785 (N.D. Ga.) The First Amendment Clinic and pro bono counsel from BakerHostetler are fighting to protect the press freedoms of independent journalist Matthew Davis. Davis was sued in late 2019 for defamation after his news website Obstacle Racing Media, LLC (ORM) published a well-sourced article shining…

Improving public access to government

On December 17, 2021 the Clinic partnered with the Georgia First Amendment Foundation to lead training on Georgia’s Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act for town and county government officials gathered in Hiawassee, Georgia. The presentation also included social media “do’s and don’ts” for officials who use Facebook, Twitter, and similar accounts to communicate…

Clinic presents to National College of Probate Judges

In November 2021, Clinic director Clare R. Norins and legal fellow Samantha C. Hamilton presented to over 80 members of the National College of Probate Judges at their annual fall conference held in Savannah, Georgia. The presentation addressed what judges can do in response to unwarranted public criticism, consistent with judicial ethics rules. Norins and…

Amicus win in Georgia Supreme Court under anti-SLAPP statute

On October 19, 2021, the Georgia Supreme Court issued a decision in ACLU v. Zeh giving full force and effect to the free-speech protections codified by Georgia’s anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute. Consistent with arguments presented in the First Amendment Clinic’s friend-of-the-court brief, Georgia’s highest court held that the anti-SLAPP statute protects a…

Clinic co-counsels in class action filed on behalf of immigrant women retaliated against for speaking out about medical abuse

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE: By September 3, 2021, all immigrant detainees were removed from ICDC to other detention facilities, and effective October 7, 2021, ICE terminated its contract regarding management of ICDC. MAY 2021 UPDATE & Press Statement: The Biden administration announced it will sever ties with the Irwin County Detention Center and no longer use…

Clinic students lead citizens’ training on open government laws

On September 30, 2021, First Amendment Clinic students Austin Albertson, Paige Medley, and Kyle Renner led a webinar training, hosted by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, on open government laws in Georgia. Attended by public employees, journalists, lawyers, and interested citizens, the webinar addressed the fundamentals of Georgia’s Open Records and Open Meetings Acts, as…

Clinic helps restore public comment at city council meetings

During the summer of 2021, residents of Greensboro, Georgia contacted the First Amendment Clinic about the public comment period at city council meetings having been indefinitely shut down in response to community members expressing their views about a controversial city official. The Clinic wrote to the Greensboro mayor and council members explaining that terminating public…

Clinic successfully opposes expansion of Augusta panhandling ordinance

In July 2021 the First Amendment Clinic, in partnership with the National Homelessness Law Center, wrote to Augusta-Richmond County officials urging them to reject a proposed expansion of the County’s panhandling ordinance and to repeal the existing ordinance due to its unconstitutional targeting of protected speech. By “criminalizing the innocent act of requesting charity,” the…