ATLANTA (CN) – A newspaper cannot force a police department to turn over records on an unsolved crime, even one that is 16 years old, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled.
Athens Newspapers LLC sought records on the 1992 rape and murder of Jennifer Stone. The crime has not been solved, and the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has not closed the case.
Justice Carley affirmed the appeals court’s decision to keep the records confidential. Despite the lack of an arrest in the case, police are actively checking federal and state DNA databases in an attempt to locate the killer.
“Sensitive information, such as the details of the crime which are known only to the authorities and the perpetrator, should be kept confidential until the case is solved,” Carley wrote.
However, the government must pay attorney fees to the newspaper because it failed to respond within three days to the newspaper’s request.