Written in plain language, A Guide to Court Access in Georgia is an essential resource for navigating state and federal court records and proceedings.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation, in partnership with the First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia’s School of Law, has published a first-of-its-kind guide to accessing state and federal court records and proceedings in Georgia.
A Guide to Court Access in Georgia, referred to as the “Yellow Book,” is organized by type of court and type of access. Using a digestible question-and-answer format, the structure allows users to quickly find the information they need. The guide is available online; printed copies may be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our courts can be perplexing, especially to members of the public who don’t interact with them regularly. What’s more, each type of court in Georgia is governed by its own rules for public access. This book is a plain-language guide for how to gain access to those state and federal court proceedings and records,” said Kathy Brister, president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s board of directors.
“I am delighted that First Amendment Clinic students had the opportunity to help create the Yellow Book,” said Clinic Director Clare Norins, who also serves on GFAF’s board. “Developing this type of resource syncs well with the clinic’s mission to foster greater public awareness around First Amendment issues, including government access and transparency. Our hope is that the Yellow Book will help people better understand their right to observe the operations of our state’s judicial systems.”
In a foreword, Georgia Supreme Court Justice Nels Peterson describes the Yellow Book as “an important and helpful resource for the public and the media as we all work together to safeguard the rights to open courts.”
In addition to being useful to citizens and the press, the Yellow Book is designed to assist court staff and officials who receive questions about public access to court proceedings and records.
It is part of a series of color-coded guides to open government published by the Georgia First Amendment Foundation. See them all at gfaf.org/resources.
The Georgia First Amendment Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that works to educate citizens, public officials, journalists and attorneys on Georgia’s open records, open meetings and free speech laws. Established in 1994, GFAF advocates for greater government transparency at the state General Assembly, in the courts and in county and city offices across Georgia.
The First Amendment Clinic at the University of Georgia School of Law defends and advances freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and petition through direct client representation; serves as an educational resource on issues of free expression and press rights; and provides law students with the experience to become leaders on First Amendment issues.