The hidden cost of Colorado’s death penalty

From 9NEWS (Denver):  Following months of questioning by 9Wants to Know on how the state is spending money on death penalty cases, a pair of bipartisan state legislators have introduced legislation to bring more transparency to the Colorado Public Defender’s Office.

The bill, yet to be introduced to a committee in the Colorado House, would compel the Colorado Public Defender as well as the Colorado Office of Alternate Defense Counsel to release more records under the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA).

In June of last year, 9Wants to Know filed multiple open records requests under CORA with the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the Colorado State Courts, and the state public defender’s office in an effort to better understand how taxpayer money is being spent in death penalty cases in Colorado.

The requests mostly centered on the case against theater shooter James Holmes who currently faces the death penalty in Arapahoe County for killing 12 and injuring 70 in 2012.

The CORA requests were fulfilled by both prosecutors and the state court system, but the public defender’s office correctly cited case law as part of its reasoning for denying 9News’ request.

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