The Georgia First Amendment Foundation on Oct. 10 presented the family of the late Chief Justice Harris Hines of the state Supreme Court its annual Weltner Freedom of Information Award.

Hines, who retired from the high court last year and died a couple of months later in a car accident, made key decisions protecting news organizations seeking access to public documents. The foundation noted that, as a judge on the Cobb County Superior Court, Hines ruled in favor of the Marietta Daily Journal when it was seeking records of a private, nonprofit hospital doing work on behalf of a governmental hospital authority. As a Supreme Court justice, Hines wrote the court’s unanimous opinion in Howard v. Sumter Free Press, which compelled the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office to comply with the Open Records Act.

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