The order to quash was made official when Newton County Superior Court Judge Eugene Benton filed his order Thursday.
After hearing arguments in the civil motion of Alcovy High School Principal LaQuanda Carpenter versus several anonymous bloggers on the Newton Citizen website and against school board District 1 representative Jeff Meadors, Benton declined to grant Carpenter's attorney Stephanie Lindsey the IP addresses and other identifying information for the bloggers.
According to the order, Benton found that the Georgia Shield Law did apply for the Citizen, and that Lindsey was required to do more on her own to identify the anonymous bloggers before requesting that the paper provide her with that information.
However, he did say that "the Court will revisit Plaintiff's attempt to obtain the identity of John Doe Defendants from the newspaper in conjunction with any showing that Plaintiff may make in the future that she has been unable to obtain these identities by reasonably available alternative means."
He also ordered that Lindsey must notify the anonymous parties "by the same medium, the ISP's pertinent message board, used by the anonymous parties to post the contested messages," and that the court must approve the notification prior to it being posted. Lindsey has posted messages on the Citizen's website, notifying the bloggers by that medium.
The order does state that Lindsey can reissue the subpoena if she complies with the court's orders and is still unable to identify the anonymous speakers.
"We're going to follow his order to the letter," said Lindsey. She added that she was thankful for the way the judge handled the motion hearing as well as that the other parties will be able to understand the case. "This does not stop it," she said.
Citizen attorney David Hudson did not comment as of press time.