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.
Sir Mario Owens
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a victory for public access to court records, an Arapahoe County judge ordered the unsealing of transcripts in the case against death-row inmate Sir Mario Owens.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined The Denver Post, The New York Times and several other media organizations in asking a judge to unseal court transcripts in the case against death-row inmate Sir Mario Owens.
The CFOIC joined other organizations in supporting a request that the Colorado Supreme Court reconsider opening the case files of two men on death row, but the Court immediately denied a motion from defense lawyers.