Need a court record? Good luck with that

From the Colorado Springs Independent:  Don’t think for a minute that the court system in El Paso County welcomes citizens who need to access court records.

In fact, Clerk of the Court Lynette Cornelius declares that those records aren’t the public’s records at all.

“It’s my record, because I am the keeper of the court’s record,” she says in an interview. More from her later.

Up until a few weeks ago, you could go to the basement level of the Terry Harris Judicial Complex, plop down in front of a public terminal and search through cases, read various pleadings as you wished and then print them out. (Note, however, that the terminal was exceedingly slow, ridiculously slow, in fact.) There was a 30-minute limit, but as long as nobody was waiting, you could sign on again and resume your research.

Well, forget that. The terminal went out of commission for an unexplained reason about two weeks ago and won’t be operable again until god knows when, according to Pam Lauren, a supervisor in the records department. She tells us the problem has been reported to the courthouse tech staff, but nothing has happened to get it running again.

So meantime, you have to stand in front of a clerk, without the advantage of seeing her computer screen, and have her read the list of pleadings in a case to you. Then you have to decide whether to get a copy of it or not, at 75 cents per page, without the advantage of reading it first. It’s a crapshoot.

Of course, attorneys have no such problem, because they, and anyone else who wants to pay the subscription fee, subscribe to an online service that provides access.

Which raises the question, why can’t the state of Colorado get its act together and provide such online access to the public?

Visit the Colorado Springs Independent for more.

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