The rule has been in effect since May 10, so it was surprising to see a judge issue a one-word order temporarily sealing all documents in a felony menacing case against Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Mark Thompson. “GRANTED” is all Judge Paul Dunkelman wrote. His order did not contain any of the specific findings required by Rule 55.1, nor did it set a date certain for terminating the order.
criminal court records
The 130-page arrest affidavit for Barry Morphew, who is accused of murdering his wife Suzanne Morphew in 2020, will remain sealed for now.
Several Colorado news organizations have asked a Chaffee County District Court judge to reconsider his June 4 order sealing the 130-page arrest warrant affidavit for Barry Morphew, who is accused of murdering his wife, Suzanne Morphew, in 2020.
Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition president Steve Zansberg and Denver Post investigative reporter David Migoya are co-recipients of this year’s First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Colorado Pro Chapter for work that prompted a new statewide standard for sealing and suppressing criminal court records.
The indisputably terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year 2020 ended with at least one bright spot in Colorado: On Dec. 17, the state Supreme Court formally adopted a new Rule of Criminal Procedure (Colo.R.Cr.P. 55.1) that sets both procedural and substantive standards for when a trial judge may “suppress” judicial records on file in criminal cases.
Some Colorado journalists were surprised and disappointed in early January to see that the fee for a statewide search on CoCourts.com had jumped from $7 to $10.
COVID-19 touched nearly every aspect of our lives in 2020 so of course it affected government transparency and public access to courts in Colorado.
The Colorado Supreme Court’s adoption of a statewide standard for sealing and suppressing court records in criminal cases “is an extremely positive development that increases transparency and builds public trust in our judicial branch,” said Steve Zansberg, a First Amendment attorney and president of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
All we want for Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa (besides world peace, an end to the pandemic and less partisan rancor) are better open-government laws for Coloradans.
The Colorado Supreme Court moved closer to possibly adopting a statewide standard for guiding judges’ decisions to seal or suppress court records in criminal cases.