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.
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.
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.”