Quantcast
Connect with us

Why is a judge keeping records in the Planned Parenthood shooting case a secret?

Published

on

The Colorado Supreme Court has ordered a judge to explain why he’s keeping certain records in the Planned Parenthood shooting case secret. The High Court gave El Paso District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez until Feb. 16 to answer in writing.

The ruling comes after more than two dozen media outlets signed a petition asking the Supreme Court to get involved.

ADVERTISEMENT

The news organizations want to see affidavits of probable cause in the case, which could offer new details about the accused gunman and his actions. But those records are under seal by Judge Martinez, and when media asked the judge to unseal them he declined, saying it would be “contrary to public interest.” Under Colorado’s open records laws, law enforcement and court officers often get to decide what’s in the public’s interest when asked for records and documents.

From the blog of Jeffrey Roberts, director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition:

The media consortium, in the petition it filed on Jan. 15, argued that Martinez’ order could keep the affidavits secret for more than a year, which would “deprive the public of knowing the most basic facts of what prompted government authorities to arrest Dear, to search his residence, and to file (a) 179-count criminal complaint.”

About 25 outlets and media groups had earlier asked Martinez in an official court motion to unseal the records.

They want those records because law enforcement officials haven’t provided detailed information about what exactly happened on Black Friday when Robert Dear, 57, gunned down three people and barricaded himself in a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs for five hours before succumbing to police. Media hope examining documents in the case could help uncover new details for the public.

ADVERTISEMENT

But Judge Martinez rejected that motion, and so the media consortium went over his head to the State Supreme Court, arguing the judge was in violation of the U.S. and Colorado Constitutions. Both constitutions give the public a presumed right of access to records and documents after someone in Colorado has been formally charged with a crime.

In December, Dear made several outbursts in court, shouting that he is guilty and calling himself a “warrior for the babies.”

The latest news in the case came earlier this month when the unkept, wild-eyed inmate made a jailhouse phone call to a Denver TV station and told them, among other things, that he thought the FBI had been breaking into his mobile home in Hartsel and cutting holes in his clothes. The FBI declined to comment, citing a gag order.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dear is currently awaiting a mental health evaluation, which could take months.

According to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, the media groups involved include in-state and national outlets such as ABC, The Associated Press, CNN, CBS, KCNC-TV, The Colorado Springs Independent, The Denver Post, Dow Jones, First Look Media, Fox News, Gannett, The Gazette, KDVR-TV, KMGH-TV, KRDO-TV, KTTV-TV, KUSA-TV, KWGN-TV, NBC Universal, The New York Times, Rocky Mountain PBS, E.W Scripps, TEGNA, Tribune Media and The Washington Post.

ADVERTISEMENT

By Corey Hutchins, The Colorado Independent


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

England pubs reopen on US Independence Day — after first nationwide closure since 1665’s Great Plague

Published

on

The streets of Soho filled with merry drinkers in London on Saturday and the pubs of Manchester were packed as England's hospitality sector returned from a three-month coronavirus hiatus.

"It feels amazing," said Leo Richard Bill, a soldier, after getting through the door of one of London's buzziest restaurants on the Thames River's popular south bank.

"It’s been what, like three months since... me and everyone else haven’t been able to get outside and have a good time. So yeah, it feels good to get amongst it," he said.

Parts of London and other cities, deserted during lockdown, sprang to life as people dressed up and came out for "Super Saturday" -- the day England's hospitality sector reopened for the first time since March.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump’s angry words and Coronavirus surge darken Independence Day weekend in America

Published

on

The United States marked an unusually somber Independence Day on Saturday, with President Donald Trump bashing domestic opponents and China -- but praising the country's coronavirus response, despite a record surge in cases.

Across the country, virus fears dampened or nixed Main Street parades, backyard barbecues and family reunions on a day when Americans typically celebrate their 1776 declaration of independence from Britain.

Instead of adopting a unifying tone, Trump -- facing a tough re-election and eager to mobilize his political base -- railed against protesters demanding racial justice after unarmed African American George Floyd was killed by a white police officer.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘Spoiler’ Kanye West mocked for running for president against his pal Trump: ‘2020 never fails to disappoint’

Published

on

President Donald Trump appears to have lost the support of one of his most well-known Black supporters as Kanye West announced on Saturday that he is running for president.

“We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States,” West posted on Twitter, with the hashtag #2020VISION.

The musician was mocked for his presidential bid, here's some of what people were saying:

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image