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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

15.6 ACCESSIBILITY OF JUDGES IN BOULDER

Canon 3(A)(6) of the Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct requires that a judge abstain from public comment about pending or impending proceedings. However, a judge may explain the procedures of the court. Each of the judges in the Twentieth Judicial District has a somewhat individualized approach to accessibility to the media. Below is a brief summary of each judge's position on certain issues that have been raised by the media.

Judge David Archuleta is accessible to the media. He will be happy to answer procedural questions both in writing and orally. He will not answer questions about pending cases that go to the substance of the case. He will also not answer questions regarding the factors that influenced a particular court decision. Should the media have any questions concerning the meaning of a ruling, he will attempt to answer the question if possible. Most rulings, and the reasons behind them, will usually be announced in open court. He is willing to try and clear up any inaccuracies by the media but the media would have to contact him and he would address those issues informally.

Chief Judge Roxanne Bailin is willing to answer procedural questions, e.g., the meaning of a motion to suppress statements; the meaning of the 'fruit of the poisonous tree' doctrine; the meaning of a particular ruling, etc. Her procedure is to have any question presented to her division clerk or law clerk, preferably in writing. If the question is appropriate and she is available she will meet with the media person. If there are inaccuracies in that which is reported she will generally not contact that media person. However, if a media person lets her know in advance that the person would like to be contacted if there is an inaccuracy, she is more likely to contact the person.

Judge Noel E. Blum is generally available to the media. He is happy to answer procedural questions and discuss general issues; however he will not discuss pending cases or answer questions regarding the factors influencing a particular decision. He prefers that questions be in writing. Questions may also be presented by calling his division clerk. He is unlikely to contact a member of the media to correct inaccuracies unless the inaccuracy is so glaring that it obviously needs correcting.

Judge Care Hoye Enichen tries to be approachable to the media. If there is a procedural question, she will be happy to answer it or any other question she thinks is appropriate. Her preference is for the media to present any question or other inquiry to her clerk in written form. She will not address reasons for a particular decision except on the record. Examples of this are the setting of bond or the nature or length of a particular sentence. She is reluctant to contact the media about the inaccuracy of the reporting related to a particular case.

Judge Carol Glowinsky prefers that any questions of her be in writing. She considers all questions about pending proceedings off-limits. She thinks that it is inappropriate to answer any questions about pending cases because the answer should be a part of the public record. If a hearing is closed, the media should submit a written request regarding reasons for the closure. If a ruling in open court has not already occurred, she will place the basis for the closure on the record in open court. If the media is uncertain about a ruling, any question should be presented to the attorneys for the parties, or to the media's legal counsel. In a particular circumstance, if there were a written question about a particular ruling, she would consider it. If she answered the question, she would do so in writing with copies to counsel. She would like to be able to contact the media about inaccuracies in a story in order to provide accurate reporting and education of the public. However, it would be on the condition that the contact be informal in nature and not to report that she had discussed the inaccuracy with the media.

Judge Dan Hale is accessible to the media. He prefers that questions be in writing. However, he is willing to entertain oral questions if he has the time. He will not answer questions about pending cases that go to the substance of the case, nor will he answer questions regarding the factors influencing a particular decision as that is a matter of record. If the media is uncertain about the meaning of a ruling he will attempt to answer it as with any other question that can appropriately be answered. He would like to clear up any inaccuracies by the media, but would like to know from the media who the contact person should be. He would point out inaccuracies only on an informal basis.

Judge D.D. Mallard is available to discuss questions regarding the legal system generally. However, she will not discuss pending cases. She may be contacted either through her division clerk or her law clerk.

Judge Lael Montgomery will always answer questions seeking clarification or understanding of what happened during proceedings in court. The same is true of questions about legal procedures in general. Judge Montgomery's approach to the inaccuracy of reporting is similar to that of Judge Bailin.

Judge Thomas J. B. Reed is always happy to talk to the media, subject to his schedule. He is willing to explain procedures, possible penalties, future settings, etc. He will not discuss probable sentences or what factors influenced a particular decision. The media person should always identify him/herself and ask the question. If this occurs during court, wait for a break and come to his chambers. If he can't answer a particular question, he'll simply say that he is unable to answer the question. If you are uncertain about a ruling, please ask him for clarification. He will contact the media if he is aware of inaccuracy of coverage.

Judge Morris Sandstead is generally not accessible to the media. His view is that all he has to say about a proceeding is said on the record in open court. However, if there is a question it must be presented to him in writing. It is his view that if the media is uncertain about a ruling, the person having the question should contact a lawyer who is an expert in the area of the ruling.

Judge John Stavely is very accessible so long as he is not on the bench. It is his preference that he be contacted in advance for any interview. He is willing to discuss non-confidential issues, issues relating to procedure, clarification of legal terms, and clarification of past rulings. If there is uncertainty regarding a ruling by him, he suggests that an attorney from the bar list be contacted and if a question remains, contact him. If there is a major inaccuracy regarding a case before him he will contact the media person.

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