Colorado judicial agencies take different positions on death penalty cost records

From  The Colorado public defender’s office declined to provide defense costs of the death penalty trial for Aurora theater shooting defendant James Holmes, citing client confidentiality, but a different Colorado Judicial Branch agency provided some information for another high-profile death penalty case.

State Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton, sponsored legislation last year to subject both the Office of the Colorado State Public Defenders and the Office of the Alternate Defense Counsel to the Colorado Open Records Act after a 2012 appellate court decision exempted all of judicial from transparency laws.

Lawrence wasn’t surprised when told her that two offices in the same agency provided very different responses to records requests.

“I think it just shows a difference of interpretation of how far the attorney-client privilege goes,” Lawrence said, noting the Colorado Attorney General’s office provides the costs of its cases. “Departments using tax money should be transparent on how they use the money.”

OADC, which takes criminal cases when the public defender’s attorneys determine they have a conflict of interest, provided the costs of the Nathan Dunlap defense at $1,077,868. The response to a records request did not break down the specific spending.

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