Opinion: Could Georgia become police state?

Let’s be abundantly clear. What we’re talking about here today is not — again, is not — a piece of proposed legislation up for consideration by the Georgia General Assembly. At least not yet.

That said, however, a report released Tuesday by the state Senate Expungement Reform Study Committee contains an exceedingly troubling recommendation that could — again, that could — conceivably become a legislative proposal that would keep citizens in the dark about who has been arrested by local authorities, and on what charges an arrest has been made.

The committee’s recommendation, buried on Page 6 of its 15-page report, reads:

“6. The State of Georgia should amend the Georgia Open Records Act to exclude information gathered in a suspect’s initial booking following arrest, including mugshot photos, from the type of records that must be disclosed pursuant to a valid open records request.

“Access to booking information and mugshots should be limited to use in the defense and prosecution of criminal offenses and by law enforcement agencies. This information should not be made available to the public.”

Online Athens.

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