Criminal Justice Information Compliance and Innovation

By Christopher N. Osher
The Denver Post

Colorado’s laws governing public access to information are among the weakest in the nation,according to a new report that sizes up how states handle requests for court documents, police files and other records.

The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization based in Washington, D.C., found only 14 states had worse open-records laws than Colorado, which received a grade of F.

Although Colorado has an open-records law on the books as 35 states do, it is among 25 states that do not have a public agency to monitor how the law is applied and investigate alleged violations, the center found. The state earned low marks for having no administrative appeals process when open-records requests are denied and for failing to put many government databases online for public access.

“There are daunting obstacles to obtaining information through the state’s open-records laws, and there is no formal appeals process outside of the court system,” the center reported. “Because Colorado doesn’t have a centralized process for handling public records requests, different government entities handle such requests in different ways.”

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