Ga. court cuts media access to police files


The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Georgia's top court decided narrowly that police investigations remain open until officially closed in a blow to media companies arguing for more access to crime files.

The court's 4-3 decision Monday centered on the police use of the term "pending investigation" to refuse media requests for public information.

Open records lawyers say the term is being abused by authorities to withhold public information, but government attorneys argued that forcing police departments to release documents in unsolved crimes could undermine their investigations.

In a 14-page majority opinion, the court concluded that it is "a hard fact of law enforcement" that crimes can remain unsolved
for years until a break in the case.

The case stems from the 1992 rape and killing of Jennifer Stone in her Athens apartment. There has never been an arrest in the case.

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