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Colorado Supreme Court asks judge to rethink sealing records in Planned Parenthood shooting

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The Colorado Supreme Court has asked the judge overseeing the case against Robert Dear to rethink sealing certain records related to the Black Friday Planned Parenthood clinic shooting in Colorado Springs.

Following the November massacre that left three dead, more than two dozen media outlets signed a petition asking the Supreme Court to intervene when El Paso County District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez sealed records related to the case.

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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 decide what’s in the public’s interest when asked for records and documents.

So, up to the Supreme Court the issue went — and now, back down to Judge Martinez it goes.

From the blog of Jeffry Roberts at the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition:

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday told the judge in the Planned Parenthood shooting case to reconsider his sealing of court records in light of recent developments.

The high court, however, did not rule on whether news organizations have a First Amendment or Colorado constitutional right to inspect the affidavits of probable cause that El Paso County District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez has kept under seal since last fall.

Martinez has defended his decision to keep the affidavits private. But last month, through a filing made by state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the judge indicated that redacted versions might be made available because the criminal investigation of suspect Robert Lewis Dear is likely over.

You can read the order in all its legalese here.

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So what were these recent developments?

Well, for one, Dear gave an exclusive jailhouse interview with a reporter forThe Colorado Springs Gazette, in which he showed no remorse and “proudly took credit for the city’s latest mass shooting.” Meanwhile, in a separate jailhouse interview, the inmate dialed up the local TV station, KKTV, and told them he’d flunked a mental exam and was ready for a “speedy trial” that “will help the victims’ families.”

Responding on Judge Martinez’s behalf to the news media petition, Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said agreeing with the petition would be “unprecedented in Colorado” and “contrary to the great weight of the case law.” She added it would undermine the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, the Supreme Court’s rules on access to court records and “the important supervisory powers of the trial courts to protect ongoing criminal investigations and the privacy rights of victims and witnesses,” according to Roberts in a previous post.

But now, the Supreme Court has made its decision, asking Martinez to reconsider.

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“Martinez has repeatedly said the documents should remain private,” The Associated Press reports. “But he has also said he would reconsider the issue later.”

By Corey Hutchins, The Colorado Independent 

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2020 Election

2016 Trump campaign vets warn he’s ‘slipping badly’ in multiple swing states

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Two men who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign have warned the president that his position in swing states is significantly deteriorating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politico reports that former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie delivered a face-to-face warning to the president that he was "slipping badly" in several key states, including must-win battlegrounds such as Florida and Arizona.

"Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation," the publication writes. "Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president."

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WSJ slams Trump for ‘hurting the country’ by ‘debasing’ the presidency: ‘Ugly even for him’

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President Donald Trump was slammed by the editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal on Tuesday evening.

“Donald Trump sometimes traffics in conspiracy theories—recall his innuendo in 2016 about Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination—but his latest accusation against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is ugly even for him,” the newspaper noted. “Mr. Trump has been tweeting the suggestion that Mr. Scarborough might have had something to do with the death in 2001 of a young woman who worked in his Florida office when Mr. Scarborough was a GOP Congressman.”

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‘We have them outnumbered’: Morning Joe explains why Trump’s ‘vile’ tweets don’t work on most people

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough explained why most Americans could not be dragged down to President Donald Trump's level, hurling angry attacks and ignoring scientific advice.

The "Morning Joe" host said the president's refusal to wear a mask and his murder allegations against him would fall flat with most Americans, because they didn't spend all day stoking their own anger on social media.

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