Georgia Supreme Court Update

iStock_000001983354XSmall.jpgA word of sorrow. Two Atlanta police officers were killed last night in a helicopter crash in Atlanta while searching for a missing child who was later found unharmed. Our hearts go out to the families of these local heroes. It is impossible to quantify the value of our dedicated first responders. Working with clients as an Atlanta personal injury lawyer, I have seen many cases in which first responders put their own lives at risk to protect us and to be there for us after an accident. Let’s remember to thank them for their service and be mindful of the dangerous nature of their jobs to keep us safe.

Two interesting cases are to be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court. The first is a case brought by an illegal immigrant from Mexico. In this case, the Georgia Supreme Court will determine whether Georgia’s law, which requires drivers who have lived in Georgia for 30 days or longer to secure a Georgia driver’s license prior to driving on our roads, is constitutional. The claim in the case is that it is alleged to discriminate against illegal immigrants in the following way.

Georgia law allows those who might otherwise be convicted of driving without a license, to avoid conviction by presenting a license in court. Since illegal immigrants cannot get a license in Georgia, they are precluded from presenting this defense. The case raises the legality of the impact of the law which leaves illegal aliens unprotected from this defense.

The appellant in the case was charge in a traffic stop in Gwinnett County in 2010 for driving without a license and failing to register his vehicle. He had been residing in Georgia illegally for over a decade. In the trial court he argued that the law precluding his ability to secure a license is not constitutional. While the case is still pending in the lower court, the Georgia Supreme Court accepted the case for hearing.

The Gwinnett County Solicitor General argues that the appellant has no a Georgia driver license. Those driving with no license must present proof that they were validly licensed to drive at the time of a traffic stop.

In another important case, the Georgia Supreme Court will also determine whether a young woman who was filmed as a minor by the Girls Gone Wild film crew can sue the film company later to stop their use of the footage.

The trial judge in the case has requested a ruling from the court as to whether the case can proceed under Georgia law. The questions include whether the plaintiff as a minor was capable of a valid consent to being videotaped and whether this consent can be rendered invalid now based on her age at the time.

The heart of the issue is whether the video companies violated her right to privacy. Our Georgia Supreme Court was the very first to recognize a right to privacy in 1905. In that case, a man argued his image could not be used in an advertisement created by a life insurance company. Other cases have dealt with consent, but none have dealt with the question as to whether a minor who provides consent can later rescind that consent.

If you have any questions about your rights after an injury or accident that might have been caused by the negligence of another person or persons, please contact me at The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C. for a free consultation. I will provide an assessment of your situation with no obligation and no fee.

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