Actual malice. Autopsy reports. The Columbine killers’ “basement tapes.” Stapleton Development Corp. records. The governor’s cellphone bills. The meetings and records of a county retirement board. Tom Kelley waged court battles over these issues and many more as an attorney for The Denver Post, other news organizations and the Colorado Press Association, steadfastly and expertly defending the public’s right to know and the journalist’s right to report.
A federal judge has denied a motion by the Colorado Springs YMCA to close court proceedings and records in a lawsuit brought by a former employee who alleges she was sexually assaulted by a higher-ranking employee.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined Colorado Public Radio and a UCLA law professor in objecting to the proposed closure of court proceedings and records in a federal lawsuit brought against the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.
A Paonia environmental activist who helped persuade state lawmakers to pass an anti-SLAPP law during this year’s legislative session won a Colorado Court of Appeals victory Thursday against the oil and gas company that sued him for libel.
Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a bill to protect Coloradans from meritless lawsuits that target free expression, and he signed another measure that starts a process for incorporating media literacy into state education standards.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined other organizations in urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit to affirm the public’s First Amendment right to record police.
There was no need to wait for final adjournment to see that the 2019 Colorado legislative session was a productive one for freedom of information and First Amendment-related issues. Gov. Jared Polis cinched that on April 12, when he signed into law a groundbreaking transparency bill that ensures the public disclosure of records on police internal affairs investigations.
A bill that would protect Coloradans from meritless lawsuits intended to silence criticism won approval in a committee of the state legislature.
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.