Colorado Independent fighting to unseal secret records in death penalty case

The Colorado Independent: Colorado’s judicial system is shrouding in secrecy documents about prosecutorial misconduct in the case against Sir Mario Owens, a death row inmate convicted of murdering a state lawmaker’s son.

The Colorado Independent is fighting in court to unseal records showing that the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s office suppressed evidence under the leadership of former DA Carol Chambers and her successor, George Brauchler.

Brauchler’s office is opposing the unsealing of the court papers that discussed its misconduct.

“The People object to Colorado Independent’s current request,” Brauchler’s staff wrote in a Nov. 17 court filing. The office has until Thursday to file a legal response outlining its objections in Arapahoe County District Court.

In an email to The Independent’s counsel, Steven Zansberg, Brauchler’s office likened allegations of prosecutorial misconduct to salacious and unproven allegations in a private divorce case. “The District Attorney believes that the court in this case has, and can continue to, limit access to portions of its file that may become the vehicle for an improper purpose, namely for the court file to improperly serve as a reservoir of libelous statements for press consumption,” Brauchler’s deputy, Rich Orman, wrote.

Orman failed to acknowledge that a judge has ruled that the misconduct allegations are founded.

District Court Judge Christopher Munch issued a 1,500-page order in September that upheld Owens’ death sentence, but found a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct, including the withholding of evidence that might have helped Owens’ case.

Visit The Colorado Independent for more.

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