The operator of a college basketball tournament alleges in a lawsuit that the University of Northern Colorado and an athletic department official violated the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) by denying access to text messages from the official’s personal cellphone.
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition
Reporters have been more likely to get a no-such-records-exist response since the Colorado legislature in 2016 adopted a simplified and expedited process for sealing the criminal records of defendants who are acquitted or have completed a diversion agreement or a deferred sentence, or their cases are dismissed.
Regardless of the intent, were the actions of the Park County commissioners legal? Is there a difference between what journalists can do versus ordinary citizens? With portable video and audio recorders in the pockets of most people, how will situations like this be mediated in the future? The short answer: It’s complicated but becoming clearer.
Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
A judge ruled against a Texas-based consultant who alleged that Colorado’s recently retired securities commissioner violated the Colorado Open Records Act by refusing to fulfill a records request “unless and until” the consultant identified his client.
Basalt town council members violated Colorado’s open meetings law in 2016 when they used email to discuss a retail marijuana resolution and other matters, a judge ruled.
A judge has ordered a Texas-based oil and gas company to pay attorney fees to a Paonia environmental activist whom it sued for libel after he posted a critical comment on the website of the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.
A district court judge in Delta County ruled that the town of Paonia improperly invoked CORA’s safe harbor clause in a lawsuit against Bill Brunner, a former town trustee who had requested numerous records in 2017. Not only should the town have turned the records over to Brunner, Judge Steven Schultz wrote, he is entitled to be reimbursed for his legal costs and attorney fees because Paonia officials “failed to exercise reasonable diligence or reasonable inquiry” before going ahead with the suit.
A brief filed by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and several news and journalism organizations asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a First Amendment records case, deemed “vital to Colorado journalism,” that was brought by The Colorado Independent.
Colorado court officials, still working to address case suppression issues raised by recent stories in The Denver Post, were briefed about another records-access problem affecting a nonprofit’s ability to provide legal services to low-income Coloradans.