The operator of a college basketball tournament alleges in a lawsuit that the University of Northern Colorado and an athletic department official violated the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) by denying access to text messages from the official’s personal cellphone.
Reporters have been more likely to get a no-such-records-exist response since the Colorado legislature in 2016 adopted a simplified and expedited process for sealing the criminal records of defendants who are acquitted or have completed a diversion agreement or a deferred sentence, or their cases are dismissed.
A judge ruled against a Texas-based consultant who alleged that Colorado’s recently retired securities commissioner violated the Colorado Open Records Act by refusing to fulfill a records request “unless and until” the consultant identified his client.
The mother of a 19-year-old man who was killed during a confrontation with police last year is on a mission to make law enforcement body camera footage more available to the public under Colorado law.
A district court judge in Delta County ruled that the town of Paonia improperly invoked CORA’s safe harbor clause in a lawsuit against Bill Brunner, a former town trustee who had requested numerous records in 2017. Not only should the town have turned the records over to Brunner, Judge Steven Schultz wrote, he is entitled to be reimbursed for his legal costs and attorney fees because Paonia officials “failed to exercise reasonable diligence or reasonable inquiry” before going ahead with the suit.
With no process for appealing public records denials short of filing a lawsuit, Colorado might want to look at a two-year-old system in Ohio, which lets anyone challenge a denial for a $25 filing fee. The president of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government says residents of his state “now have a fighting chance – no matter their resources or standing” when they believe records are wrongly withheld.
To commemorate CORA’s golden anniversary, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition asked a few Coloradans for their thoughts on what what the open records law means to them and what it has meant for the people of our state.
Three journalist associations and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition are urging Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto Senate Bill 18-223, which would close public access to autopsy reports on minors.
With little discussion in public, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission formally enacted records access rules that mostly mirror the Colorado Open Records Act but also assert the commission’s authority to “adopt a public records policy that deviates from CORA.”
Colorado lawmakers are poised to close public access to autopsy reports on minors, bowing to a request from county coroners who say disclosure of the records unnecessarily invades the privacy of families and encourages copycat teen suicides.