Coloradans are engaged in a much-needed debate about the wisdom of continuing to apply the death penalty. To inform that debate, the public is entitled to know precisely what is the cost of taking such cases to trial and through all appeals.
In a letter to the Colorado Supreme Court, the CFOIC and the press and broadcasters associations ask why the administrative records of the state’s judiciary should be treated differently from those of the other two branches of government and all of the state’s political subdivisions.
For reporter Jana Winter, the notebook that James Holmes mailed to his psychiatrist hours before opening fire in an Aurora movie theater is more than a chilling look inside the mind of a mass killer. It’s the reason she lived for nearly two years under the threat of being jailed in Colorado.
State lawmakers defeated a bill that would have made the State Public Defender’s Office subject to the Colorado Open Records Act, preferring to let the Colorado Judicial Branch write its own rules for releasing administrative records for that agency and other agencies under its control.
While lawmakers consider whether to make the state public defender’s office subject to the Colorado Open Records Act, the judicial branch is in the process of writing a new set of rules governing access to most of its administrative records.
HB 15-1101 would make the records of the state public defender and the office of alternate defense counsel subject to CORA, except for privileged attorney-client records, as defined by the proposal.
For the CFOIC, revisiting 2014 reveals a somewhat troubling string of stories about issues and problems affecting government transparency in Colorado. Consider them one by one and you might not be all that concerned. But put them in a list and you could reasonably conclude that open government in the Centennial State is still a work in progress.
The CFOIC questions why the public had to wait so long to see the Aurora theater shooting response report and why certain already well-publicized names and details have been X’d out.
A consortium of broadcast media organizations argued that an outside review of Aurora’s emergency response to the July 2012 theater shooting should be released to the public.
Fees for public records, protecting the confidential sources of journalists, the Open Meetings Law. These weren’t the topics that grabbed the biggest headlines during the during the 2014 legislative session. But that doesn’t diminish their importance.