Editorial: Open court finances to the public

From the Reporter-Herald (Loveland):  The beginning of the trial process in Arapahoe County for the man accused in the Aurora movie theater shooting has led to a renewed debate on whether the financial records of the judicial system, and specifically the Colorado’s Public Defender Office, should be subject to the Colorado Open Records Act.

Colorado lawmakers, the public and, to a significant extent, the courts have generally supported open records on the expenditure of public money but with some exceptions.

The court system has carved out an exception for itself from the requirements of the open records act, which typically has been described in broad terms.

The Office of Legislative Legal Services says the open records act is “quite expansive and applies to virtually all levels and types of governments in Colorado, except for the federal government.”

It’s time to open the financial spending records of the state court system to the public. One possibility would be to provide numbers in summary so that the time-honored principle of attorney-client confidentiality could be maintained when the state provides attorneys for poor defendants in criminal matters.

Lawmakers earlier this month defeated a bill that would have made the State Public Defender’s office subject to the open records act.

Visit the Reporter-Herald for more.

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