The 2021 Colorado legislative session produced a mixed bag of good and not-so-good developments for those concerned about government transparency.
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.
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.
For the second consecutive year, state lawmakers killed proposed legislation that would have prohibited the sealing of domestic violence-related convictions in municipal courts.
A bill to let one-time offenders petition to seal the public records of their misdemeanors died in a House committee following opposition from prosecutors, victims’ advocates and law enforcement officials.