Editorial: Transparency for Colorado’s public defenders

From The Denver Post:  As the James Holmes trial reaches its final stages, state Sen. David Balmer is calling on the legislature to resuscitate an idea that was rejected this year but which has even more merit today than when proposed. And that is to require transparency from the Colorado State Public Defender’s office.

As the Centennial Republican noted in a recent commentary in The Colorado Statesman, “Regrettably, due to loopholes in the Colorado Open Records Act, publicly funded defense lawyers are allowed to hide from taxpayers all trial costs, including high-priced consultants and expert witnesses.”

Meanwhile, prosecutors must abide by CORA, and District Attorney George Brauchler has freely done so regarding his office’s expenses in the Holmes trial.

To be clear, we don’t have a problem with public defenders spending whatever is necessary to provide a first-rate defense for the accused, no matter how terrible his crimes. What we object to is the lack of transparency and public accountability.

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