How sealed criminal records in Colorado may be released to the public

Colorado Politics: While state law requires the automatic sealing of criminal records when a case is completely dismissed, the statutes also offer mechanisms for unsealing them.

The first mechanism is available to both the victim and defendant.

The second mechanism is available to members of the public, but that path can be arduous. 

Colorado law says that the courts may permit the defendant — often the petitioner to seal records — to inspect them. The prosecuting attorney or a law enforcement agency may also release copies of police reports or any protection orders issued in the sealed case to the victim. The latter must demonstrate the need for the records and they can only be used for a “lawful purpose.”

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