Death-row inmate files “cloaked in secrecy”

From The Colorado Independent: DENVER — Last spring, between the time the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed civil unions and gun control laws and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper granted a temporary reprieve to convicted Chuck E. Cheese’s shooter Nathan Dunlap, a bill to abolish the death penalty died in a House committee.

The measure was quashed largely at the urging of Hickenlooper’s administration which, in a year of relatively progressive lawmaking, called for a longer “statewide discussion” about capital punishment.

The Department of Corrections soon made it clear it didn’t want to participate in that discussion by refusing to reveal the protocol it would follow to carry out executions. In May, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado sued the state for information about how the state had planned to execute Dunlap. Just over two months later, the ACLU won its case.

The Department “has failed to demonstrate that disclosure of a properly redacted Execution Protocol would be contrary to the public interest,” Judge R. Michael Mullins ruled. “Particularly in light of Governor Hickenlooper’s recent reprieve, which calls for a public conversation about the death penalty in Colorado, disclosure of these records would further the public interest.”

Now a larger hurdle stands in the way of public conversation about capital punishment.

Court records have been sealed in the cases of Sir Mario Owens and Robert Ray, the two men still held on death row in Colorado.

Visit The Colorado Independent for more.


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