Evans v. Georgia Bureau of InvestigationAnnotate this Case
Christopher Evans appealed a superior court order denying his petition for a writ of mandamus. Evans served as Director of Operations for the Georgia Electronic Design Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2010, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation ("GBI") obtained two arrest warrants for Evans, based on allegations that he was part of a racketeering enterprise; arrest warrants were also obtained for two other persons as part of the same suspected activity. The investigation of the alleged racketeering enterprise treated the alleged activity as a single undertaking; one case number was assigned to the combined investigation of Evans and the other two individuals, and one investigatory file maintained. In 2012, the two arrest warrants against Evans were dismissed, and no indictment had been sought against him as of the time his petition for a writ of mandamus was denied. In 2013, Evans submitted a request to the GBI under the Open Records Act for materials from its investigative file that pertained to him. The GBI declined to produce the materials, citing an exemption for pending investigations. Evans sought a writ of mandamus to compel the GBI to produce these materials. After a hearing, the trial court found that Evans was not entitled to the materials because the Open Records Act exempted from disclosure records of "law enforcement, prosecution, or regulatory agencies in any pending investigation . . . [A]n investigation or prosecution shall no longer be deemed to be pending when all direct litigation involving such investigation and prosecution has become final or otherwise terminated." The trial court noted that while the warrants had been dismissed against Evans, the warrants against the other two individuals had not been dismissed and remained pending, thus disclosure was not mandated. After review of Evans' petition for review of the superior court's denial of his request, the Supreme Court concluded the trial court did not err in concluding that under these circumstances, the materials that Evans requested were exempt from production.