In 2013, Colorado was preparing for its first execution since 1997. The ACLU invoked the Colorado open records laws to seek disclosure of Colorado’s detailed execution protocol as well as information about the state’s efforts to obtain the drug or drugs that will be used and the companies that may be supplying the drugs. When the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) denied the records request, the ACLU filed suit seeking disclosure. The lawsuit argues that by refusing to disclose records that will allow the public to learn the details of the execution procedure and other requested documents, CDOC infringes, without adequate justification, on the public’s legitimate right to information about how its government operates with regard to one of its most grave and serious undertakings.  The court ordered the disclosure of a redacted version of the execution protocol.

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Lauren Schmidt; Emily A. Renwick; Karl L. Schock; Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director