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CHAPTER 15: SPECIFIC PRESS ISSUES - Table of Contents

15.1 - Introduction15.2 - Access to Court Files, Staffs and Dockets15.3 - Crim. p. 35(b) Proceedings (Reconsideration of Sentence)15.4 - Crim. P. 35(c) Proceedings15.5 - Revocation Proceedings15.6 - Appeals to Federal Court15.7 - Appeals in Civil Cases

15.2 ACCESS TO COURT FILES

GENERAL

Most court files are accessible to the public without limitation. There are exceptions to this general rule, most notably in sexual assault cases. However, if Debbie Crosser, the Clerk of the Court, receives a written request or is given written notification that a particular case will be reviewed frequently by the media she and her staff will use their best effort to keep the file updated. To place a file in a regular update category the written request or written notification must come from two or more media sources.

If a file is not in the Clerk's office the file is probably located in the Judge's chambers or in the law clerk's office. If the file has a companion "public access" copy, the file with the judge will usually not be available as it contains material that has not been redacted. If the file does not have a companion "public access" copy, call the division clerk to see if the Judge has the file. If so, and if the file is not actively under review by the Judge, arrangements can usually be made to review the file at a location designated by the division clerk.

INFORMATION FROM COURT STAFFS

Each member of the Court's staff is considered to be a confidential employee of the judge. This includes division clerks, court reporters, and law clerks. Because of the status of these employees as confidential employees, only limited information may be obtained from them as they are subject to the same standards as judges in discussing cases publicly. Such employees may provide information regarding the ultimate result of a ruling (e.g.,. the ruling on a motion, the sentence imposed, a warrant was issued, etc). However, these employees are not allowed to summarize what occurred in court. Information regarding the details of any court proceeding can best be obtained by being present. An alternative to obtaining this information is to order a verbatim transcript from court proceedings. This may require up-front payment of the estimated costs of the transcripts. Transcript may not be available for days or even weeks because of a court reporter's schedule or a transcriber's backlog.

COURT DOCKETS

Generally a docket for all cases to be heard by a particular judge are posted on the first floor of the Boulder County Justice Center, near the front door, and outside of each judge's courtroom. These dockets are updated prior to posting. However, some cases are added on so late in the preceding day that the docket update does not show a particular case. Additions to the docket may also occur because a judge has continued a case until the following day, the attorney for one of the parties has asked that a case be added late in the day or even on the same day it is added, or the person was arrested late in the day preceding an appearance the next day. In order to avoid missing a case, the division clerk may be called for an update. This call should be for the purpose of asking about a particular case or to ask if any cases have been added to the docket. Of course, the clerk can only provide information known at the time of the call.

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