Two words come to mind when looking back at 2018’s government transparency highlights and lowlights in Colorado. Judicial secrecy.
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 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.
HIPAA is the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, enacted by Congress in 1996. The law’s privacy rules, designed to protect the confidential health information of patients, often are misunderstood and misapplied, and that certainly seems to be the case with the July 5 detention of Greene near the state Capitol, according to legal experts.
Two journalist associations and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition sent a second letter to Denver’s new police chief, expressing disappointment in his “dismissive, non-substantive” response to an earlier letter regarding the July 5 detention of Colorado Independent Editor Susan Greene while she took pictures of officers.
“Deeply concerned, dismayed and disappointed” by the detention of Colorado Independent Editor Susan Greene last week while she photographed police officers, the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition and two journalist associations are urging the Denver Department of Public Safety to institute intensive First Amendment training for its employees.
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.
We think Colorado should set a uniform standard for the sealing of court files in criminal cases. The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition recently made a formal request for such a rule to a Colorado Supreme Court committee responsible for proposing Rules of Criminal Procedure applicable in state courts.