The city of Aurora’s “blanket policy” of denying open records requests for police internal affairs files, apparently without regard to the facts and circumstances of each request, violates Colorado’s criminal justice records law, a lawsuit alleges.
Should state law be changed to limit public access to arrest records of people who never were charged with crimes or haven’t yet been charged? The Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice is exploring that idea, concerned that such records, if they turn up in background checks, can negatively affect peoples’ chances of getting employment or finding housing.
It’s been on the books since the state legislature adopted the Colorado Open Records Act nearly a half-century ago: Anyone who “willfully and knowingly” violates the statute is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to 90 days in jail and a $100 fine. But on Aug. 9, when Senate Bill 17-040 goes into effect, the criminal penalty in CORA will disappear.
When Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 17-040, he ratified a long-overdue update to the Colorado Open Records Act, which hadn’t been modernized in more than 20 years. A separate CORA bill signed by Hickenlooper changes the open-records law in a subtler way. Here are some things to know about both measures, which go into effect Aug. 9.
On matters affecting public information, the General Assembly did little during this year’s session to improve access. The most significant legislative win for government transparency doesn’t actually affect governments.
An El Paso County judge reversed himself and ordered the unsealing of probable cause affidavits related to last November’s shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs.
Aurora’s response to a reporter’s records request illustrates a common problem facing journalists and anyone else in Colorado who wishes to analyze public records kept in spreadsheets or databases. Too often, they get PDFs or stacks of paper instead. This makes analysis difficult or sometimes impossible.
Rochelle Reynolds’ pursuit of documents on the death of her son illustrates how the criminal justice records law in Colorado sometimes keeps people in the dark.
The final report of a state task force on police body cameras does not recommend when or under what circumstances captured video should be released to the public.
The names of children who are victims of serious crimes should be deleted from criminal justice records before those records are released to the public, a panel of state lawmakers decided.