Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion. {page 2}This case concerns a request for release of computer-generated bulk data containing very particularized information about individuals who are parties to criminal or civil cases in the State of Colorado. We conclude that the General Assembly has not evidenced its intent that this data should be unqualifiedly available to the public in bulk form, and absent such intent, the administrative policies of the supreme court control its release. Specifically, we conclude that the General Assembly has enacted various specific statutes that control the release of court record information and has afforded to the courts themselves control over release of the remaining information, pursuant to court order or rule. A Chief Justice Directive operates as such a court order or rule, and therefore, Chief Justice Directive 98-05 permitted the State Court Administrator to deny a request for release of bulk electronic data stored by the Judicial Branch. I. The Colorado Judicial Branch is a separate branch of Colorado state government, responsible for the exercise of judicial power and administration of the court system. See Colo. Const. art. VI, � 1. The State Court Administrator (the SCA) is an appointee of the supreme court who administers the judicial system on a day-to-day basis. See Colo. Const. art. VI � 5(3); � 13-3-101(1), 5 C.R.S. (1999). The county courts, {page 3}district courts, Denver juvenile court, Denver probate court, court of appeals, and supreme court are courts of record within the state. See � 13-1-111, 5 C.R.S. (1999). Accordingly, the clerks of those courts must keep official records of the title and case number references to the various orders, rulings, judgments, papers, and other proceedings of the court in each case (registries of actions). See � 13-1-102, 5 C.R.S. (1999). In 1978, the Colorado Judicial Branch began storing case records in the electronic Colorado Court System database (the CCS). The CCS contained approximately seventy percent of all Colorado court filings. In early 1992, Background Information Systems, Inc. (BIS) requested access to the magnetic tapes containing court record information generated through the CCS. The SCA agreed to the request, and at BIS’s expense, the SCA created customized new tapes that deleted statutorily confidential information from the bulk of the data. The SCA updated the tapes on a regular basis with new court information. Beginning in early 1993 and continuing through late 1995, the state converted from the General Government Computer Center database to the Colorado Judicial Information Management System (the CJIMS), a decentralized system operated internally. By May of 1995, 100 % of Colorado’s court filings were recorded on the CJIMS database. Again, at BIS’s request and expense, the SCA {page 4}created a computerized segregation program to prevent disclosure of statutorily confidential information (such as the names of victims in sexual assault cases), and then released the balance of the information to BIS. In 1994, the SCA began its conversion to the Integrated Colorado On-Line Network (ICON). ICON was intended to eliminate redundant data collection, establish a single database for participation in the Colorado Integrated Criminal Justice Information System (CICJIS), and improve functioning in court processing, probation case processing, and financial processing. The new CICJIS is a system mandated by the legislature to maximize the sharing and standardization of data and communications technology among law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, the courts, and corrections. See � 16-20.5-102(3), 6 C.R.S. (1999). CICJIS substantially relied on ICON for its operation, and was scheduled to be fully operational statewide by January 1998. BIS used the magnetic tapes to create a searchable statewide database of Colorado civil and criminal justice records. BIS then sold data from this system to various customers, including businesses and state and local governments. According to BIS, these entities used the information to perform background checks on prospective employees. {page 5}In the fall of 1995, the SCA expressed concern that BIS was receiving confidential and inaccurate information through the database. [FOOTNOTE 1] As a result, the SCA and BIS attempted to modify the program in an effort to address the problems. In August of 1997, the SCA decided to cease delivery of the tapes to BIS. [FOOTNOTE 2] At that time, the SCA still produced the magnetic tapes from the CJIMS database. During the period when the SCA was releasing the extracted CJIMS tapes to BIS, the tapes included broad civil and criminal case information, such as judgment debtor and creditor information, domestic case filings information, and in some instances, criminal defendants’ and civil litigants’ social security numbers and drivers license numbers. On August 29, 1997, BIS applied to the district court pursuant to section 24-72-204(5), 7 C.R.S. (1999) of the Public Records Act for an order directing the SCA to show cause why it {page 6}should not be required to create and release an electronic database purged of statutorily confidential information. BIS asserted that the Public Records Act imposes upon the courts an implied duty to create such a record at the expense of those desiring it. The district court ruled in favor of BIS and ordered the SCA to provide the database. [FOOTNOTE 3] The SCA appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, but prior to that court’s review of the case, on October 2, 1998, Chief Justice Mary J. Mullarkey issued Chief Justice Directive 98-05 (CJD 98-05). CJD 98-05 established a Public Access Committee and directed as follows:
The SCA[O], as the official custodian of the electronic database, is charged with completing the following requests for information from the ICON system, consistent with the policies and procedures developed by the public access committee.

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

More From ALM

Premium Subscription

With this subscription you will receive unlimited access to high quality, online, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry. This is perfect for attorneys licensed in multiple jurisdictions or for attorneys that have fulfilled their CLE requirement but need to access resourceful information for their practice areas.
View Now

Team Accounts

Our Team Account subscription service is for legal teams of four or more attorneys. Each attorney is granted unlimited access to high quality, on-demand premium content from well-respected faculty in the legal industry along with administrative access to easily manage CLE for the entire team.
View Now

Bundle Subscriptions

Gain access to some of the most knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with our 2 bundle options! Our Compliance bundles are curated by CLE Counselors and include current legal topics and challenges within the industry. Our second option allows you to build your bundle and strategically select the content that pertains to your needs. Both options are priced the same.
View Now

New Jersey Legal Awards (NJLA) 2023

September 27, 2023
East Brunswick, NJ

New Jersey Law Journal honors lawyers leaving a mark on the legal community in New Jersey with their dedication to the profession.

Learn More

General Counsel Conference East 2023

October 03, 2023
Brooklyn, NY

General Counsel Conference addresses trends in regulatory, data protection, tech management, legal operations, and leadership.

Learn More

New York Legal Awards (NYLA) 2023

October 05, 2023
New York, NY

The New York Law Journal honors attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in New York.

Learn More

Transactional Intellectual Property / Corporate Lawyer - CT or Remote

We are seeking a lawyer with extensive transactional intellectual property experience to join our corporate practice. Candidates should hav...

Apply Now ›

Health Law Associate CT

Health Law Associate CT Shipman is seeking an associate to join our national longstanding health law practice. Candidates must have t...

Apply Now ›

Records Access Unit Attorney 15825

Records Access Unit Attorney 15825 Position Summary: Under the direction of the Deputy Counsel of the Department of Education s (DOE) Re...

Apply Now ›

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

New Jersey Law Journal


View Announcement ›


New Jersey Law Journal

Riker Danzig deeply mourns the passing of our esteemed partner, dear friend and beloved colleague, Marc D'Angiolillo.

View Announcement ›

Eisenberg, Rothweiler, et.al


Eisenberg Rothweiler

View Announcement ›