March 11, 2010

Georgia judge bars release of photos of hiker's nude, decapitated body

Posted: 06:36 PM ET

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN

Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) - Photos of the nude and decapitated body of a murdered hiker, sought by a writer on assignment for Hustler magazine, will not be released, a judge in Georgia ordered Wednesday. 

The decision came as state lawmakers considered legislation that would ban public release of graphic photos of crime victims. First Amendment lawyers say the legislation could have a chilling effect on open records requests.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Daniel Coursey issued a temporary order restraining the Georgia Bureau of Investigation from releasing "any and all photographs, visual images or depictions of Meredith Emerson which show Emerson in an unclothed or dismembered state.

Emerson's family sought the order after learning of the request for copies of crime scene photos of the 24-year-old, attorney Lindsay Haigh said. Emerson's admitted killer, Gary Michael Hilton, received a life sentence in exchange for leading investigators to her body in the north Georgia mountains on January 7, 2008, six days after Emerson disappeared.

The judge's order came on the same day the Georgia House Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed "The Meredith Emerson Memorial Privacy Act," which would prevent gruesome crime scene photos from being publicly released or disseminated, according to Rep. Jill Chambers, the bill's principal sponsor.

House Bill 1322 would prevent the release of photographs of the bodies of crime victims that are "nude, bruised, bloodied or in a broken state with open wounds, a state of dismemberment or decapitation," said Chambers.


Filed under: Crime • Justice

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Jim Carroll   March 11th, 2010 6:44 pm ET says, Give Californiaa some money.
Since the states gave up their right to create money, the Federal Government has the
responsibility to create the money the states need to balance their budgets. Article 1,
Section 8, of the Constitution gave the Federal Government power to create money.
Money must be created first before equal value can be created. The Federal Government
needs to create enough new money now to give each state five hundred million dollars for
each member of congress, which would be equal distribution. Goods and services is what
has real value–not money, which is mostly numbers on a computer chip. Over 5% growth
in GDP proves that money must be created before equal value can be created. The stimulas
and the bail-outs of banks and auto makers increased the GDP.

California could create its own money by making it good only in the state of
California and exchangeable with the dollar in California. Since the Federal Government
has a stupid money policy, there is no need for California to be broke when money is only
a medium of exchange for goods and services. California could withdraw from the United States
and become a new country. It could then create its own money supply like 191 other countries– which
would be good anywhere in the world. This would get the USA of the off of a gold standard mentality.
Article 1, Section 8, Constitution gives the Federal Government the power to keep a balanced money supply. New money
should be made available to all the states without any matching funds required for creating jobs and funding new
businesses which produces new jobs. Goods and services have real value. Money is only numbers on a computer chip
which exchanges goods and services. Get educated at the

A. Smith, Oregon   March 11th, 2010 7:36 pm ET

Why should the victims family have to ask US Justice Dept's to not release the nude decapitated photos of their daughter to the public?

Is there that much money by tabloids demanding such photos?

After the CIA trained the Kymer Rouge freedom fighters in Lao's to presumably murder as many Vietnamese people as they could, they turned on the weakly armed nation of Cambodia, sparking Pol Pot's infamous genocide of his own people, shown at length in the movie 'The Killing Fields' and the multiple public photos of the pyramids of Skulls and mass graves filled with decomposing body's.

Didn't these sick people receive enough of these photos during that time, or is this a new generation of very sick individuals that are demanding such photos?

Dodie   March 11th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

@ A. Smith, Oregon

You stated:

"Why should the victim's family have to ask US Justice Dept's to not release the nude decapitated photos of their daughter to the public?"


Thank You!

To have to ask for privacy pertaining to those pictures is a tragedy and absoutely outrageous!!!

Mike P   March 12th, 2010 1:13 am ET

uhh, yeah, ... I have to assume that since this is a blog thatsomehwere out there, somebody is furious that they dont get to see, the pictures of a nude decapitated woman?...umm

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 12th, 2010 3:30 am ET

The gruesome photos should never have been allowed to be released to the public in the first place. Fullstop!!!!!!!!!!!!No ifs or buts. Enough is enough of this nonsense that is going on. Have people lost their minds, really. Get a grip.

Ted   March 12th, 2010 9:06 am ET

What kind of sick person would be interested to see such a photo?
It should not be published.

Jamie   March 12th, 2010 5:17 pm ET

Disturbing. I work in law enforcement and my stomach turned when I read this article. There comes a time morals should outweigh making a few bucks. And...Hustler would make some money off this...believe me. There are sick people out there that would run and buy that magazine that had never purchased it before. Hustler understands this and proceeded to take the low road and try to get the photographs. Shame on them. This should never have been up for discussion. What if that nude, decapitated body were you?

Raychil   March 12th, 2010 7:33 pm ET

There are really some sick journalists who would want to display these photos. Disgusting!

Theresa   March 12th, 2010 10:04 pm ET

Thank goodness there are still people who actually use their brains ! Sensationalism is going to be the death of our society if we allow it! How some people enjoy the depravity of certain things is beyond me!!!

jack   March 12th, 2010 10:33 pm ET

While these photos are certainly repulsive, the public has just as much right to view them as the police and courts and juries. This has been true since the days of the first crime photographs. These are needed to make available citizen oversight of judicial proceedings in a free democracy. While I think Hustler is not the place to make them available, to hide crime photos from public is just another way to keep citizens in the dark. They should be made available in serious forensic study journals and true crime type formats, for adults who need to be informed on what is going on in their country.

Theresa   March 12th, 2010 11:52 pm ET

@ Jack....And if that was your daughter you would approve? It"s the TMZ's, Inside Edition,National Enquirer that want to get their hands on this horrific mutilation....only for ratings & to make mucho $$$$...I don't think they consider this young woman was probably a wonderful human who had a successful future if this hadn't happened. They could care less if this young woman's death was handled with dignity. All those supposed entertainment shows should be hit with the cancellation button...they're useless & a waste of anyone's brain.

Donald L Allen   March 12th, 2010 11:54 pm ET

I no what every the US is doing it not four the Best interest of you or me But I well say no mater what bad role they well pass it don't mater they may not need to see what I got if there not a trust water people well what it about is I got a letter and they said the US has past a new rule of the collection on the Internet well it may not be what I think but I,M just saying what do they need to see if you can not trust them if you get the heat well the park way has got nutting to do with the work I do here but I well say I,V been rob on it so what about that what good is a park way what you decide ween the US think it own what I,M doing here there well be trouble and than see if they well do it four me PS Larry King I hard the fox news talk as though it OK to take what you feed over the net or feed back you no that is funny what or you news people like the US you can not get eight tell me I wood like to no were you stand what or they doing you see what I,M doing is not the future you look for to I want to no do you think I haft to work four you even if I do not want to see were I stand you well problem realise I may not care if I do or I do not see you Larry

jack   March 13th, 2010 12:37 am ET

@Theresa...of course not. I was merely speaking for the right for crime photos and all other evidence be put in a public venue for the sake of protecting lawful process and freedom. I would object to them being put in any magazine or rag , for sick entertainment purposes. don't throw the baby (of freedom and transparency that has been and still is the law when it is placed in proper serious publications) out with the bathwater of sensationalism. The two have very distinct purposes. One is respectful and furthers lawful access to information by those who need to study such matters , while the other is for sick entertainment. Please see the difference between these two. I am not for such pictures to be put in magazines for the wrong purpose. However, many serious crime study, and legal publications include all aspects of crimes, to further forensic, legal , criminology , and social studies.

Donald L Allen   March 13th, 2010 2:27 am ET

A exchange is ween they want summation I got see and it valuation of freedom four you or them what is it with any one how think there any better than you or me or sum one else what give you the right to be Better than any one else see I think they use other to still lie and cheat it that simple I Don,t want to help the US four free it like that and I think I sued have the same right as you or any one else you get what I mean and they well try to find a way to pursue me in any way they can it like that see what I say there a joke and it a joke what every they do from this point on and what can they do that I can not see what I mean I well not work four them and I well not work four free that I the end of My store see you Larry King Be Good Donald L Allen

Donald L Allen   March 13th, 2010 2:33 am ET

PS about the infowit like this there plenty but it don't belong to them see what I say and do you comprehend what I mean and the info they do have is not the info they think it is so way give it to them to do what they please way tell me way you sued even trust them to do one thing way the US you no how it is I,M talking about you no what I,M saying what can I do to make them hurt more if it not good night I well think of summation you can bet on it see you Donald Allen and keep the stub gift you call it US

Theresa   March 13th, 2010 7:29 am ET

@ Jack.......I'm all for freedom of speech,freedom of the press. The problem these days is material like this gets in the wrong hands & will be sensationalized @ every grocery store check out. Some of these publications have no ethics, professionalism. How many Walter Cronkite's are there in this society. Everything is areality show,wanting ratings of gold. Of course this type of material should be allowed in forensic journals etc.,but in this day & age that's where it will not end!

Ted   March 13th, 2010 9:38 am ET

@ jack

The freedom of press is being misused and the newspapers make muchos dineros with it.
The public has no rights to anything that trespasses on the rights of individuals, unless it is in the interest of the nation as the whole.
Seeing discusting pictures do not belong to that cathegory.

Cajazz76:24:8   March 13th, 2010 1:42 pm ET


The human lust for sensational thrust...something to propel their fantasies and compulsion's..Maybe they should search for a head singing 'I Ain't Got Nobody"...

jack   March 13th, 2010 7:32 pm ET

@Thersa @Ted...I was speaking in the abstract for protecting freedom of speech. Scholars,crime investigators, and true crime readers, I feel need to have materials, both print and photographs available for a complete overview. I am against them being spread across tabloids and sensationalist magazines to increase sales. It would take a very sick person to find such grisly photos in any way stimulating. Almost everyone views such photos with a feeling of horror. But just like coroners and crime investigators and juries, sometimes full knowledge of history or crime studies are not pleasant , but are needed for full undersatnding. Shocking crime scene photos should be kept from children , and not be in tabloids for sensationalism or profits. This would also protect the privacy of victims and their families. My main concern, not related to this particular GA case, is that photos be banned, under one reason or another, and we go down that slippery slope of denying freedom of speech and press. On the other hand , I can see your concerns that they not be sensationalized ,in cheap publications for a quick buck. I agree with that, also.

Donald L Allen   March 13th, 2010 7:40 pm ET

hello Larry king the store of the day the love of my life I no shat care but she just don,t no it yet you no you no how it is it true I do care I AM in Love what so one how don,t appear to be what do you believe the store is true or not what Way can I not make up the store as I go what do you think way I am only able to respond to the how can talk or do they want to speak to you or not way I Love you babe you no I,M talking to you than what is it do I no you or you A friend of My friend or how do I no you must I no how you or to Love you what is a Life do you no Tell me How it Work out see you I love you don,t four get me My store see you Larry King

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 13th, 2010 7:43 pm ET

It's all for sensationalism. Sick.

Donald L Allen   March 14th, 2010 1:13 am ET

hello Larry what I wood like is to no way the US only want to make A prevented joke out of what we do the work we do and way do they think they have any right to the work we do and way don't it go to Cort instead of them just making more bad rule to go by so they can just rip us off more and do what they please ween we get a real president in the house it problem want matter any more what you think about that I no there not out to help me way do you think I care about what they do or what there doing well see it the way I do and no they don't dissever any credit that is the way it is that is my store Donald L Allen PS I said I don,t want to help you and you forceful way need to stop I don,t work four you ether what you think about that see you

Donald L Allen   March 14th, 2010 6:41 pm ET

what up Larry what you doing and how is fame the thing about the government we no there good we no there bad what we sued let them do and what we sued not let them do the life of me and the life of them what can they and what or we not Genia let them do we or not Genia let them miss use the government well Larry you no I can not read too good or spain to good but what I mean is is don't let them do what they please with or Mooney and don't let them do what they please with it wash them you no what I mean and it is what I mean you get the drift right see you Saloma good bay PS good day see you Larry the King I no we can field the same thing I no year 1970

Donald L Allen   March 14th, 2010 7:38 pm ET

capitol Hill what or you saying do you believe you or above the low and yes I say we may think is the low a good low is it By the right of the people or can you do nothing we can no,t sued you Be able to brake the low and do you have the right to miss use the people Mooney of the country the US the united state or if you make a bad low do you think I well abide by it well think again it want happen like you think I want see it not just gonna be any way you want it to be No I say Donald L Allen read my lip no more dater role in the house PS you people need to stop braking the low see you

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