Regardless of the intent, were the actions of the Park County commissioners legal? Is there a difference between what journalists can do versus ordinary citizens? With portable video and audio recorders in the pockets of most people, how will situations like this be mediated in the future? The short answer: It’s complicated but becoming clearer.
Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
Basalt town council members violated Colorado’s open meetings law in 2016 when they used email to discuss a retail marijuana resolution and other matters, a judge ruled.
A judge has ordered a Texas-based oil and gas company to pay attorney fees to a Paonia environmental activist whom it sued for libel after he posted a critical comment on the website of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
A brief filed by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and several news and journalism organizations asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a First Amendment records case, deemed “vital to Colorado journalism,” that was brought by The Colorado Independent.
A judge should deny the prosecutors’ motion to keep autopsy reports from the public in the Frederick triple homicide case because the criminal court lacks jurisdiction to decide that question, a media coalition and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition argued.
The Otis Telegraph calls itself “The friendly voice of Washington County” because it likes to promote the community, says co-publisher Jerry Patterson. “But every once in a while you have to step up and do things that papers are supposed to do. You have to ask the tough questions.”
By ruling that the First Amendment provides no protection for the public’s right to inspect judicial records, the Colorado Supreme Court confounded some legal experts who worry about the decision’s impact on access to court files in Colorado.
Geoff Wilson, former attorney and lobbyist for the Colorado Municipal League, was awarded the Sue O’Brien Award for Public Service for his continuing support of the principles of transparency and open government.
A bill to require public disclosure of police internal affairs records cleared its first legislative hurdle on a 7-4 vote in the House Judiciary Committee.