Fight for Mercer records heats up

Battles for access to campus crime records in Georgia are being waged on two fronts. Proposed Senate Bill 153 would redefine the Georgia Open Records Act to include police records at private schools, while a case involving Mercer University may progress to the Georgia Supreme Court and set a legal precedent for crime records disclosure.

The state Open Records Act defines materials subject to disclosure as "all documents prepared and maintained in the course of operation of a public office or agency" or documents received "on behalf of a public office or agency." A state trial court ruled that private Mercer University had to turn over the records of its campus police department--which operates with official law enforcement authority--under the Open Records Act.

Not-so-smooth criminals

Newspaper theft culprits found out the hard way this year that their attempts to cover up information about a crime by committing another crime can draw more attention to it and some college administrators and law enforcement officials are taking such crimes more seriously.

Shield of Armor

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Student journalists may have the law on their side when promising sources anonymity if a recently introduced federal bill, The Free Flow of Information Act of 2005, passes in the House and Senate.

The bill, also known as the Media Shield Law, was introduced by Congressmen Rick Boucher (D.-Va.) and Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) under H.R.

Foul play

On Valentine's Day, University of Michigan basketball player Daniel Horton pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge for allegedly choking his girlfriend in December 2004.

When the Michigan Daily student newspaper reported his plea, subsequent sentencing and suspension from the team, athletic department officials contacted the newspaper with a message that surprised Editor in Chief Jason Presick.

"They were very complimentary of our coverage because the Detroit Free Press had published the girlfriend's name and we didn't," he said.

N.H. court rejects student's claim that school unfairly banned photo

Londonderry High School student Blake Douglass sued his school district in October in order to force the yearbook to publish his photo, claiming the ban violated his constitutional rights. Douglass’ photo showed him clad in trapshooting clothing, kneeling with a shotgun propped over his shoulder. Douglass said he wanted to express his enthusiasm for his favorite hobby, trapshooting.