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.
criminal court records
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.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Colorado Supreme Court will wait until September to convene a public hearing on a long-awaited standard for guiding judges’ decisions to seal or suppress judicial records in criminal cases. In the meantime, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and other groups have submitted written comments on the proposal.
In a closed-door meeting, a Colorado judicial branch committee is expected to consider a long-awaited new rule on the suppression and sealing of criminal court records.
A long-awaited proposed new rule on the sealing and suppression of criminal court records could be ready in January and a public hearing likely will follow, the chief justice of the Colorado Supreme Court told state lawmakers.
By ruling that the First Amendment provides no protection for the public’s right to inspect judicial records, the Colorado Supreme Court confounded some legal experts who worry about the decision’s impact on access to court files in Colorado.
There is new life for CFOIC’s proposal to set a uniform statewide standard for sealing criminal court files in Colorado.
In a terse letter, a committee of the Colorado Supreme Court has rejected CFOIC’s call for a uniform standard for sealing court files in criminal cases. More than a year ago, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition asked the state court system to adopt such a rule, noting that disputes over the closure of records in high-profile criminal cases often focus not just on whether records should be sealed, but on the appropriate legal standard to apply in making that determination.