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Theater Case Records Requests

Theater Case

 

District Attorney Policy Relating To Records Requests

For Arapahoe County District Court Case 12CR1522

INTRODUCTION.  The Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act (“CCJRA”) allows for applicants to seek access to, and inspection of, criminal justice records in the possession of a criminal justice agency.  The office of the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District is a criminal justice agency.  There is an unusually large volume of records associated with Arapahoe County District Court case 12CR1522, including almost 100,000 pages of documentary discovery, hundreds of CD and DVD disks, and other types of records.  12CR1522 is also unusual in that there are a large number of victims who might have interest in seeking access to, and inspection of, criminal justice records.  Additionally, there may be an unusually large number of other individuals seeking access to and inspection of criminal justice records associated with case 12CR1522.  For these reasons, the Office of the District Attorney issues this special policy for CCJRA requests related to case 12CR1522.

PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING RECORDS.  Persons requesting criminal justice records shall use the standard form published by the District Attorney as listed on their website here:  http://www.da18.org/MediaCenter/RecordsRequest.aspx

DEFINITION OF TERM “VICTIM.”  For purposes of these procedures, the term “victim” shall have the same meaning as the term has pursuant to the Constitution of Colorado and the Colorado Revised Statutes pertaining to victims of crime.  The records custodian should treat any person who was inside one of the two adjacent movie theaters (theater #9 or theater #8) as a victim for purposes of CCJRA requests.  Additionally, the records custodian, in their discretion, may utilize a more expansive understanding of the term “victim,” as is appropriate under the circumstances.

COSTS FOR INDIVIDUALS OTHER THAN VICTIMS.  This section applies to individuals other than victims.  Individuals other than victims shall pay a standard $25 application fee to request criminal justice records related to case 12CR1522.  This fee is to cover the administrative costs of the District Attorney in processing the request.  The records custodian may decide to waive this fee in appropriate circumstances, such as lack of financial resources or other extraordinary circumstances.  If an applicant seeks a waiver of the $25 fee, the applicant should contact the records custodian. Once the fee is either paid or waived, the records custodian (or the designee of the records custodian) will assess the request.  By statute, the District Attorney may charge its actual costs in responding to a criminal justice records request.  For purposes of responding to CCJRA requests related to 12CR1522, such costs will relate to the actual materials upon which the records are produced (i.e. printing and copying costs, costs of disks, and costs of other media), and costs for employee time spent responding to the request.  Paper copies will be charged at 25 cents per page.  For all other types of materials upon which records are provided, the records custodian shall establish a standard price for such materials based on the actual cost of the materials, and the average actual time that District Attorney employees spend preparing such materials.  For employee time spent responding to the request, including but not limited to time spent in review of records for consideration for access or inspection, all employees involved shall record their time in ten minute intervals, rounding down for intervals of less than 10 minutes.  The applicant shall be charged for only the actual employee time spent in assessing the CCJRA request, reviewing records, redacting, and responding to the request.  Such charges shall be based on the actual hourly wage paid to hourly employees, and the wages for salaried employees based on a 40 hour work week.  For any request by someone other than a victim, the records custodian shall not charge for the first five hours of employee time spent responding to the request.  For employee time spent in excess of five hours, the records custodian shall estimate the amount of time and expense for the records request and shall communicate with the applicant regarding the actual estimated costs associated with the request.  If the applicant agrees to pay the estimated costs, the records custodian shall continue with reviewing the records associated with the request.  A non-victim applicant may seek a waiver or individual modification of the requirement to pay for the costs of copying, materials, and District Attorney employee time, which may be granted at the discretion of the records custodian only in extraordinary circumstances.

COSTS FOR VICTIMS.  It has long been the policy of the District Attorney to waive most costs associated with CCJRA requests made by victims of crime, and it is the policy of the District Attorney to seek to minimize any costs associated with victim CCJRA requests in case 12CR1522.  At the same time, the District Attorney must be cognizant of the extremely large volume of records associated with case 12CR1522, and that assessing the totality of records for purposes of CCJRA review may divert District Attorney employees from their jobs for periods of months.  Because of this, it shall be the policy of the District Attorney to waive the first $300 in materials costs for any victim seeking criminal justice records in case 12CR1522, and only to charge victims for materials costs in excess of $300.  Additionally, it is the policy not to charge victims for the first 16 hours of employee time for each victim’s CCJRA request related to 12CR1522. [1]A victim applicant may seek a waiver or individual modification of the requirement to pay for the costs of copying, materials, and District Attorney employee time, which may be granted at the discretion of the records custodian in appropriate circumstances.

SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT REQUESTS.  Applicants may make only one criminal justice records request relating to case 12CR1522, however applicants may amend or supplement a CCJRA request an unlimited number of times without paying an additional application fee.  The purpose of this provision is so that individuals making CCJRA requests for case 12CR1522 will only have to pay a single fee, and will only have the benefit of the waivers of costs for materials and employee time one time for case 12CR1522.  For purposes of this paragraph, the term “applicant” means persons, legal entities, law firms, and media outlets/organizations. 

TIMING OF REQUESTS.  Applicants may submit CCJRA requests at any time.  The records custodian, or the records custodian’s designee if the records custodian is not available, shall consider any request pursuant to the provisions of the CCJRA and judicial opinions interpreting the CCJRA, specifically the factors enunciated in Freedom Colorado, Inc. v. El Paso County Sheriff.  While every request shall be individually considered, it is understood that the District Attorney’s office’s interest in keeping confidential information confidential will result in most records requests relating to 12CR1522 being denied until after the case is adjudicated through verdict and any potential capital sentencing proceeding.  In order to expedite responses to CCJRA requests once those events occur, applicants may submit requests in advance of those events, with a specific request that the CCJRA request not be processed until after the case has been adjudicated through verdict and any potential capital sentencing proceeding.  Such requests should generally be prioritized on the basis of when the request was submitted; however the records custodian shall have the discretion to process requests that are limited in scope prior to requests that are larger in scope, regardless of when submitted.  The records custodian shall also have authority to prioritize requests for any other appropriate reason within the discretion of the records custodian.

PREVIOUSLY REVIEWED RECORDS.  If a CCJRA applicant requests records that have already been reviewed pursuant to a different CCJRA request by a different applicant, the records custodian shall, if feasible, attempt to minimize the time spent reviewing such records a second or subsequent time, so that the applicant shall have the maximum benefit of the charge-free time spent responding to the request.

MEDICAL RECORDS.  Numerous victims have signed waivers of medical privilege so that investigators could acquire medical records.  It is the position of the District Attorney that such waivers are generally limited in scope, specifically so that the records could be used in investigating and prosecuting a criminal case, and that such waivers do not act to authorize the District Attorney to share otherwise private and privileged medical information with applicants seeking access to, and inspection of, criminal justice records.  Such records may be provided only to the particular individual who is the subject of the medical records (i.e. to the victim who actually signed a waiver for the records specifically in question), or to the legal guardian of such individual, or their attorney, or their personal representative in probate.

PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION.  Prior to releasing criminal justice records related to case 12CR1522, the records custodian shall redact the following personal identifying information for all individuals mentioned in the records other than law enforcement witnesses: dates of birth, social security numbers, home addresses, business addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and any other information which would subject such individuals to unwelcome or unsolicited contact, harassment, or abuse, or would otherwise invade their privacy.  For law enforcement witnesses, the records custodian shall redact similar information, but should not redact official address or official telephone contact information unless the records custodian, in their discretion, believes that such redactions are appropriate under Colorado law. 

CCIC/NCIC RECORDS.  Because CCIC/NCIC information is provided to the police and District Attorney by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation pursuant to an agreement that such information shall be used for official law enforcement use only, the records custodian shall not release any CCIC/NCIC information unless the applicant can provide written permission of both the CBI (for CCIC and NCIC) and the FBI (for NCIC) allowing the District Attorney to make such records available to the public.

COURT ORDERS, COURT RULES, AND STATUTES.  No criminal justice records shall be released or made available for inspection if doing so would violate any court order, court rule, or statute.

PROVIDING RECORDS AT INTERVALS.  The records custodian may consider the need of the applicant and the volume of records included in a request in order to determine whether to review the totality of records responsive to a particular request prior to making a portion of them available for release or inspection. The records custodian is encouraged to discuss such issues with the applicant and to reach a mutual agreement on this issue.

NO LIMITATION ON DISCRETION.  Nothing herein shall limit the statutory discretion of the records custodian.

 

Promulgated on this _____ day of _____, 2015.

 

____________________________

George H. Brauchler        

District Attorney






Link to PDF version of this page - CCJRA Special Policy