WXIA-TV v. Georgia

Soon after Tara Grinstead went missing from Irwin County in October 2005, her disappearance attracted significant media attention. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies investigated her disappearance for more than eleven years, and throughout the course of that investigation, news organizations continued to show an interest, reporting from time to time on her disappearance and developments in the investigation. When Ryan Duke was arrested in 2017 and charged with Grinstead’s murder, his arrest was the subject of extensive media coverage. Media coverage was most intense in Irwin County and surrounding areas of central and south Georgia. To a lesser extent, the record showed that Duke’s arrest also was covered by television stations and newspapers in Atlanta, as well as some national news organizations. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to review a gag order instituted in this case, which restrained the lawyers, the defendant and the lawyers in a related case, court personnel, and current and retired law enforcement personnel from making extrajudicial, public statements on certain subjects related to the murder case for so long as it remained pending. The Supreme Court held gag orders like this one may be constitutionally permissible in exceptional circumstances, but the record here did not reveal circumstances sufficiently exceptional to warrant such a restraint. For that reason, the Supreme Court vacated the gag order. View "WXIA-TV v. Georgia" on Justia Law