Denver Sheriff and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Denver Sheriff Department is not completely blind to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as it appears the agency could be with some of the abuse allegations lately.

Responding to my public records request under the Colorado Criminal Justice Records Act, the Denver Sheriff provided me with documents related to mental health training and accommodations made in compliance with the ADA.  I made the public records request because of the troubling, to put it mildly, allegations in the press that the Denver Sheriff used their Tasers to inflict pain, some of whom are mentally ill.1 Noelle Phillips, Denver Jail’s Taser Use At Odds With Federal Guidelines, Post Finds, Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26846770/denver-jails-taser-use-at-odds-federal-guidelines?source=rss.

I have argued in a previous post on this website 2 Joe Thomas, Denver Sheriff’s Taser Use on the Mentally Ill, Colorado Common Law, http://cocommonlaw.com/2014/11/denver-sheriff-taser-mentally-ill/. and on my Arizona Common Law website 3 Joe Thomas, Police Have Affirmative Duty to Accommodate Disabilities, Arizona Common Law, http://azcommonlaw.com/2014/03/police-affirmative-duty-accommodate-disabilities/; See also Joe Thomas, The Police’s Duty to Accommodate Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Arizona Common Law, http://azcommonlaw.com/2014/02/police-duty-accommodate-americans-disabilities-act/. Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act4 The Americans with Disabilities Act,  Title II Public Services, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et. seq. creates a  duty in which law enforcement must proactively make reasonable accommodations for known individuals with qualifying disabilities.5 A qualifying disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.”  The Americans with Disabilities Act, Definitions, 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A).

Provided with all the documentation related to my request (except for the course materials which would need to be printed for me at an extra charge), I think this should give a good overview of how the Denver Sheriff approaches mental health issues and disabilities in general.

Continue reading Denver Sheriff and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act

References   [ + ]

1. Noelle Phillips, Denver Jail’s Taser Use At Odds With Federal Guidelines, Post Finds, Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26846770/denver-jails-taser-use-at-odds-federal-guidelines?source=rss.
2. Joe Thomas, Denver Sheriff’s Taser Use on the Mentally Ill, Colorado Common Law, http://cocommonlaw.com/2014/11/denver-sheriff-taser-mentally-ill/.
3. Joe Thomas, Police Have Affirmative Duty to Accommodate Disabilities, Arizona Common Law, http://azcommonlaw.com/2014/03/police-affirmative-duty-accommodate-disabilities/; See also Joe Thomas, The Police’s Duty to Accommodate Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Arizona Common Law, http://azcommonlaw.com/2014/02/police-duty-accommodate-americans-disabilities-act/.
4. The Americans with Disabilities Act,  Title II Public Services, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, et. seq.
5. A qualifying disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual.”  The Americans with Disabilities Act, Definitions, 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A).

Denver Sheriff’s Taser Use on the Mentally Ill

Law enforcement needs to treat all people within their care with fairness and reasonableness.  This includes people with disabilities.

Earlier this month, the Denver Post reported 1 Noelle Phillips, Denver Jail’s Taser Use At Odds With Federal Guidelines, Post Finds, Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26846770/denver-jails-taser-use-at-odds-federal-guidelines?source=rss allegations that the Denver Sheriff Department “often rely on their Tasers to inflict pain to force inmates, some of whom are mentally ill.” The newspaper’s findings include: “[d]eputies used their Tasers’ drive-stun mode, designed to inflict direct pain, in at least eight cases”; and  “[i]n at least six incidents, the inmate who was shocked had been experiencing a mental health episode.” 2 Id.

The Denver Post reviewed fourteen Taser cases so far this year by the Denver Sheriff Department.  In continuing coverage of the use of force by the Denver Sheriff, the Denver Post suggests, that if true, the allegations would violate federal Taser guidelines.

I am going to assert that if these allegations, if true, the conduct by the Denver Sheriff Department would violate federal law, the United States Constitution,  and international law.  At the very least these allegations, if true,  at least amount police abuse, and at most to torture.

Continue reading Denver Sheriff’s Taser Use on the Mentally Ill

References   [ + ]

1. Noelle Phillips, Denver Jail’s Taser Use At Odds With Federal Guidelines, Post Finds, Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_26846770/denver-jails-taser-use-at-odds-federal-guidelines?source=rss
2.  Id.

Remember Legal Non-Profits on Colorado Gives Day

With Thanksgiving just a few short days away this is the season of giving.  There are many, many great non-profits out there to give to that do tremendous work and are in need of donations.

In addition to Thanksgiving, December 9, is Colorado Gives Day which seeks to strengthen the state’s non-profits through online giving and donations.

Legal non-profits need help.  No matter the cause they fight for our rights, liberties, and values.  This can be free speech rights, labor rights, gun rights, privacy rights, religious freedoms, equality rights, etc.  The law affects every single one of us and we as Americans cherish our rights under the law.  Legal non-profits often times are the ones who stand up for the rights we hold sacred.

Since this is a legal blog focusing on Colorado, I want to mention a few  non-profits doing amazing legal work in Colorado and that would really appreciate a donation.  This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  There are many other fantastic legal non-profits in Colorado who deserve donations.  These are just a few who stand out to me.

Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

http://www.ccdconline.org/

This group works to support disability rights.  In addition to litigation, the organization also counsels for-profit and not-for-profit businesses on disability issues.  I have been impressed with their work in court.  One of their lawsuits they are currently working on is suing  RTD (Regional Transportation District) over wheelchair accessibility on the lightrail.  The claim is wheelchairs users do not have enough room to manauver on lightrail trains in Denver.

I have several cases and pleadings argued by CCDC (Colorado Cross-Disability) attorneys and they are a very impressive.

American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado

http://aclu-co.org/

This state chapter is Colorado’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  A multi-pronged organization, it’s work is directed in three different areas: litigation, public policy and legislation, and public education.

An interesting case that settled before going to court, recently argued by the Colorado ACLU is Valdez v. Arapahoe Co. Sheriff’s Office.  The Sheriff’s office was called out to help with a domestic disturbance.  Ms. Claudia Valdez was arrested and taken to jail by the Arapahoe County Sheriff.  The next day her husband admitted he was the aggressor, and a judge ordered Ms. Valdez’s release.  Rather than release her, the Sheriff detained her on an immigration detainer from the federal government.  Immigrations detainers are used when the federal government needs up to five extra days to decide whether to take that person into federal custody for a possible immigration violation.

Deportation proceedings are civil, not criminal, cases. Remaining in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws is not a crime.  The Arapahoe County Sheriff eventually settled.  Ms. Valdez has lived in Colorado for 15 years, has three U.S. citizen children and no criminal record, yet she faces deportation proceedings as a result of her arrest and detention in 2012.

Colorado Freedom Of Information Coalition

http://coloradofoic.org/

This group works for transparency of state and local governments in Colorado by promoting freedom of the press, open courts and open access to government records and meetings.  The resource page of the website is an invaluable tool for the public to learn how to access information about their government.

Colorado Prison Law Project

http://www.coloradoprisonlawproject.org/

This is a group that I am not too familiar with, but I really like their mission fighting for prisoner rights.  Just because someone is being punished for crimes they have committed, does not mean they have to endure abuse by correctional officers, live in inhumane conditions, etc.  They are working on some pretty interesting cases, check them out!

There are many more legal non-profits than the ones I listed.  They all need help to continue doing the work they do.  Please contribute to them any way that you can, so they can continue to stand up for all of our rights.

Colorado Mental Health Institute At Pueblo Policies And Procedures

This is the second installment of Colorado Mental Health Institutes’ Policies and Procedures.  This time CMHIP Pueblo’s policies and procedures are given.

Here are CMHIP at Fort Logan’s policies and procedures.

The reason behind this article is because the Colorado state government is horrible at providing public records online.  A quick look at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo website only provides a cursory overview of what the state mental hospital does.  Unfortunately, most of that information does not help friends and families, nor the public understand how the hospital operates.  I have seen first-hand how a person with mental health issues, can be detained and transferred to another facility, leaving the family feeling powerless and victimized.  For family and friends, a better understanding of the policies and procedures allows them not only to understand what is happening but also to communicate with hospital staff. The community also benefits from the availability of the policies and procedures by acting more effectively as watchdogs and ensuring some of the most vulnerable members of society are not taken advantage of or abused.      To better understand the operations, I filed a public records request for the policies and procedures.

Before we jump in to the policies and procedures, a little background information is useful.  CMHIP Pueblo is different from its sister hospital in Fort Logan, in that Pueblo serves civil clients but also individuals from the criminal justice system.  Individuals in the criminal justice system who are adjudicated not guilty by reason of insanity or  incompetent to proceed are treated at CMHIP Pueblo.  Furthermore, the hospital provides court ordered evaluations for defendants in the criminal justice system.  The bed capacity is 451, approximately, 4.5x what Fort Logan can handle.

Here are links to each policy section and I will highlight some of the interesting policies in each section (there are many more policies than the ones I highlighted, I just chose the ones I found interesting).

Section 1 – Clinical Risk Management

  •  Policy 1.05 details Plan of Care
  •  Policy 1.27 details Discipline Auditing of Assessments Progress
  •  Policy 1.28 details Active Treatment and General Activities
  •  Policy 1.53 details Patient Privilege Levels
  •  Policy 1.54 details GPS Patient Monitoring
  •  Policy 1.65 details Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity and Incompetent to Proceed Disposition Committee

Section 3 – Medication / Treatment

  • Policy 3.01 details Medication Practices
  • Policy 3.05 details Pain Management
  • Policy 3.08 details Assessment for Psychiatric Patients
  • Policy 3.25 details Diagnosis Reporting
  • Policy 3.38 details Root Cause Analysis  and Sentinel Event Investigation (a sentinel event is an “unexpected occurrence involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof”)

Section 6 – Clinical Risk Management

  •  Policy 6.05 details Intractable Injurious Behavior Protocol (intractable injurious behavior is “chronic, dangerous behaviors safely” where a use of restraint or force is used to deescalate the situation”)
  •  Policy 6.20 details Electroconvulsive Therapy (electroconvulsive therapy is “is a procedure in which electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses,” according to the Mayo Clinic.  CMHI at Pueblo did not define it in their policy.)
  •  Policy 6.25 details Involuntary Psychiatric Medications
  •  Policy 6.30 details Consent for Special Therapies
  •  Policy 6.38 details Clinical Employee Use of Force and Self Defense
  •  Policy 6.42 details Use of Safety Smock or Blanket
  •  Policy 6.45 details Locked Door Seclusion and Open Door Restraints Medical Protective Restraints
  •  Policy 6.60 details Photo Recording Patients

Section 8 – Assessments

  •  Policy 8.15 details Involuntary Laboratory Studies
  •  Policy 8.25 details Medical Education
  •  Policy 8.51 details Care of the Dying Patient
  •  Policy 8.57 details Sexual Assault Allegations and Examinations
  •  Policy 8.60 details Code Zero (Code Zero is the “procedure is to provide basic life support until ambulance paramedics arrive to stabilize and transport the victim to the appropriate treatment area or facility”)

Section 10 – Admissions

  •  Policy 10.00 details Admissions
  •  Policy 10.23 details Admission Care and Transfer Process of Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

Section 12 – Medical Records

  •  Policy 12.01 details Medical Record Chart Organization
  •  Policy 12.10 details Abbreviations and Symbols

Section 14 – Legal / Consent

  •  Policy 14.10 details Subpoenas
  •  Policy 14.15 details Duty to Warn and Protect
  •  Policy 14.30 details Body Cavity Searches
  •  Policy 14.41 details Privacy Rights of Patients
  •  Policy 14.56 details Personal Representatives
  •  Policy 14.66 details Research Guidance for Potential Researchers
  •  Policy 14.82 details HIPAA Safeguards

Section 15 – HIPAA Security

Section 16 – Patient Rights

  •  Policy 16.10 details Organization Ethics
  •  Policy 16.11 details Unanticipated Outcomes
  •  Policy 16.50 details Patient Rights
  •  Policy 16.51 details Patient Right to Representation by an Attorney

Section 18 – Patient Services

Section 22 – Department of Public Safety

Section 24 – Administration

  •  Policy 24.12 details Pharmaceutical Company Representative Access to CMHIP Patient Care Areas
  •  Policy 24.13 details Tours of CMHIP
  •  Policy 24.55 details Interstate Transfers

Section 26 – Finance

Section 28 – Information Management

Section 30 – Management of Human Resources

  •  Policy 30.12 details Conflicts of Interest
  •  Policy 30.56 details Disclosure of Criminal Charges
  •  Policy 30.61 details Staff Competency

Section 32 – Environment of Care

  • Policy 32.02 details Incident Reporting
  • Policy 32.04 details Preventing Needlestick and Sharps Injury
  • Policy 32.10 details Escapes and Reporting Unauthorized Absenses
  • Policy 32.13 details Searches of Premises Staff, Patients and Visitors
  • Policy 32.14 details Knife Utensil Flatware Accountability
  • Policy 32.24 details Building Security
  • Policy 32.26 details Civil Disturbance Riot
  • Policy 32.35 details Hostage Situations
  • Policy 32.37 details Reporting Accidents Occurring to the Public

 

 

 

Colorado Mental Health Institute At Fort Logan Policies And Procedures

Health concerns are difficult enough to handle both physically and emotionally.  On top of that navigating the complex waters of the American health care system can make this seem like a daunting task, to say the least.  The better informed an individual is, potentially the better care he or she will receive.

Okay, so Colorado has two state run mental health hospitals.  Neither of them have very much information online.  Through a public records request I asked for each hospital’s policies and procedures.  This article provides the public version of the policies and procedures for Fort Logan Mental Institute, a Colorado state hospital.  A later article, already published, deals with the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo policies and procedures.

In this article, the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan will be the focus.

First a little background information.  The hospital has 94 adult inpatient beds for adults with serious mental illness.  It is the smaller of the two state mental health hospitals.  It is important to note that only civil clients are served here. Individuals who are charged with a crime and plead insanity are not housed at this hospital.  Only civil clients are referred for admission by the state’s Community Mental Health Centers.  The hospital is licensed for 94 adult inpatient beds (about 1/4.5 of the size of its Pueblo counterpart).  The state wide inpatient program for adult deaf/hearing impaired clients with mental illness is at Fort Logan.

For friends and family of patients at Fort Logan the policies and procedures can provide invaluable insight to how the hospital is run.  Expectations can be managed based upon the stated policies and procedures of each hospital.

The community also benefits from the availability of the policies and procedures by acting more effectively as watchdogs and ensuring some of the most vulnerable members of society are not taken advantage of or abused.

Here are links to each policy section and I will highlight some of the interesting policies in each section (there are many more policies than the ones I highlighted, I just chose the ones I found interesting).

Section 1

  • Policy 1.05 details Incident and Injury Reporting.
  • Policy 1.13 details Sentinel Events – reporting on death, paralysis, coma, major permanent loss of function
  • Policy 1.14 details Guidelines for Response to Alleged Sexual Relations Between Staff and Patients
  • Policy 1.20 details Policy for Visitors
  • Policy 1.24 details Reporting Serious Assault or Other Criminal Behavior to Denver Police

Section 2

  •  Policy 2.01 details Admission Criteria
  •  Policy 2.03 details Medical Advance Directives – the right of adult individuals to refuse treatment
  •  Policy 8.06 details Using and Disclosing Protected Health Information
  •  Policy 10.05 details Procedural Safeguards for Patients and their Parents

Section 3

  • Policy 12.11 details Safeguarding Patient Valuables and Belongings
  • Policy 21.07 details HIV/AIDS/ HIPAA Related
  • Policy  21.10 details Review of Suicides, Homicides and Death

Section 4

  •  Policy 21.23 details Lobotomies Forbidden
  •  Policy 26.05 details Discharge Catergories
  •  Policy 26.12 details Patient Care and Monitoring
  •  Policy 26.16 details Use of Behavior Modification Procedures that Use Painful Stimuli Forbidden

Section 5

  •  Policy 26.20 details Handling Requests for Evaluations, Transfers, and Consultations Between Treatment Services
  •  Policy 26.23 details Care of Patients Under Legal or Correctional Restrictions
  •  Policy 26.26 details Prevention and Management of Assaultive Behavior
  •  Policy 26.26 details Definitions of Restraints – different types, and when they are appropriate
  •  Policy 26.27 details Refusal of Prescribed Medication
  •  Policy 26.28 details Rights of Patients
  •  Policy 26.30 details Informed Consent for Specific Therapies
  •  Policy 26.34 details Use of Seclusion and Restraints
  •  Policy 26.41 details Use of Support or Protective Devices

Section 6

  •  Policy 26.50 details Peer Review
  •  Policy 26.52 details Patient Assessment / ReAssessment Process
  •  Policy 26.55 details Patient Grievance Plan
  •  Policy 26.58 details Pain Management for Patients with Chronic or Acute Pain

Section 7

  •  Policy 26.67 details Response to Sexual Assault
  •  Policy 27.02 details Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  •  Policy 27.35 details Staff Rights

Section 8

  •  Policy 28.01 details Use of Medication
  •  Policy 28.08 details Drug Diversion and Drug Tampering
  •  Policy 28.12 details Withholding Prescribed Medications by Registered Nurses
  •  Policy 28.19 details Investigational Drugs

Section 9

  •  Policy 29.12 details Use of ElectroConvulsive Therapy
  •  Policy 32.07 details Filing Privacy Complaints
  •  Policy 33.04 details Disclosing Protected Health Information for Research Release

Section 10

  •  Policy 36.04 details Removing Protected Health Information from Health Institute Grounds
  •  Policy 36.06 details Patient Access to Medical Records
  •  Policy 36.09b details Authorization of the Use or Disclosure of Psychotherapy Notes
  •  Policy 36.12 details Retention of Medical Records

Article – Settlement Confidentiality: A ‘Fracking’ Disaster for Public Health and Safety

The safety of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is being debated without all the information.  This is a scary proposition for those who live near live near fracking sites.  Best industry practices may be slow to develop, or not developed at all, because of confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements keep the potential dangers secret.

Confidentiality prevents the public from knowing about systemic wrongful conduct. It can also prevent regulators and government agencies from performing their duty to enforce the law and protect the public. The purpose of the court is to evenly administer justice to all so that all are protected by the law. When violations are hidden by confidentiality, the legal system itself is thwarted from fulfilling one of its fundamental purposes: to protect the citizenry from wrongful conduct.

An interesting point is made in this article that perhaps confidentiality clauses have a much broader impact in fracking cases.  Adverse effects of fracking have far-reaching implications that could affect communities, regions, or even entire states.  Then once a confidential settlement is reached others who may be impacted in the area could be in the dark about the potential hazards.

Colorado public policy should be revisited to limit confidentiality settlements in fracking cases.

Sign for Fracking Site in Colorado - Photo taken by CoCommonLaw
Sign for Fracking Site in Colorado – Photo taken by CoCommonLaw

Confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements have become so commonplace they seem like benign contractual terms. In reality, confidentiality clauses have formidable power to silence even the most outspoken plaintiffs, including a woman once known in Colorado as the “Erin Brockovich of Garfield County.” Because settlement agreements generally operate as simple contracts, requiring no judicial input or approval, litigants have virtually unbridled power to condition settlement on one or both parties’ silence. As a result, settlement confidentiality has muzzled virtually every plaintiff in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) suits, aided the Catholic Church’s alleged child molestation cover-ups, and helped shield manufacturers from public scrutiny of hundreds of deaths and injuries stemming from tire failures.

Despite such risks and a trend in U.S. law and policy toward openness and disclosure of potential public safety dangers, the confidentiality clause remains a staple for civil settlements. Whereas other scholarship focuses on whether to continue permitting settlement confidentiality or proposes changes that restrict court-approved confidentiality clauses, this article (1) explores conventional arguments for and against settlement confidentiality, using fracking claims as a case study; (2) concludes courts must reject the secrecy-as-bargain status quo but accept the reality that confidentiality is sometimes necessary; and (3) proposes a uniform rule courts should adopt to regulate, when public interest requires, confidentiality clauses in both court-approved settlements and private settlements courts are later asked to enforce.

— R. Kyle Alagood, Settlement Confidentiality: A ‘Fracking’ Disaster for Public Health and Safety,available at  SSRN.

 

 

Colorado State Patrol Uses Predictive Technology

The Colorado State Patrol does use predictive technology in some capacity.

Algorithmic crime-fighting, based on predictive technology makes makes me nervous.  Let me just say that upfront.

But the Colorado State Patrol probably predicted I would say that….

Colorado State Patrol Predictive Technology

Reading through the Colorado State Patrol, Strategic Plan 2014, I saw a paragraph mentioning how technology is utilized.  On the screen shot below, it is the third yellow box called “utilizing technology.”  The reference is not much, the whole paragraph is just two sentences.

Colorado State Patrol Stategic Plan, Predictive Technology
Colorado State Patrol Stategic Plan, Predictive Technology, page 7.

The Colorado State Patrol utilizes predictive and adaptive, knowledge-based tactics to enhance our mission effectiveness. We are focused on implementing practical technologies that enable our members to be more effective and efficient in the attainment of our mission.

— Colorado State Patrol, Strategic Plan 2014 (or alternatively view the Strategic Plan 2014 at the bottom of this article).

My interest was piqued.  The Colorado State Patrol uses some sort of predictive knowledge-based tactics that involves some sort of technology.  As a individual who is interested in police procedure this really got me thinking about the possibilities.  What sort of predictive technology court the Colorado State Patrol be using?

Continue reading Colorado State Patrol Uses Predictive Technology

How the Denver Sheriff Defines Use of Force

The use of force is a hot topic within the Denver Sheriff and the surrounding community currently.  Deputies claim with the increased scrutiny, at times they second-guess their decisions, putting both officers and inmates at risk.

They’re afraid a Monday- morning quarterback is going to come back and find the one rule they violated. It’s frustrating from a supervisory standpoint.

— said  Sgt. Charles Denovellis, during a rally outside the Denver County Jail Oct. 6, 2014 to the Denver Post.

It is such a hot topic that Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins wrote a formal letter telling deputies the use of force is prescribed by state law and is not some moving target.

This whole discussion makes me wonder what the use of force policy is and how it can be misconstrued.  Is it vague?  Does it really differ from other jurisdictions?  Since the Denver Department of Safety refuses to allow the Denver Sheriff to turn over copies of the Sheriff Orders and Jail Procedures then I have to go with what is available. Fortunately, the Denver Sheriff Discipline Handbook is freely available, even though the Denver Department of Safety forgets to mention it in open records requests.

Continue reading How the Denver Sheriff Defines Use of Force

Colorado Revised Statutes Still Open and Notorious in 2014

The Colorado Revised Statutes are once again open and notorious.  Updated for the year 2014, the Colorado General Assembly posted the new statutes on its internal, super secret website (this is the website I had to use an Open Records request and a little back and forth to find out about).

CoCommonLaw also has updated its links to the new 2014 laws.  Individuals are still able to use CoCommonLaw to download, read, and learn Colorado law.  Nothing has changed here, except for the updated links.   This post is to inform readers of CoCommonLaw to the updated laws, and again to the question why the Colorado General Assembly does not make their internal version of the statutes public.  Use the menu at the top of the screen and click on Colorado Revised Statutes to read or download the 2014 edition.

Still hosted by the Office of Legislative Legal Services (OLLS), a legal resource department for the Colorado General Assembly, a new website with the state statutes features the updated laws.

The title of the website is still obscure.  For the unassuming, ‘2014 C.R.S.’ could mean anything or nothing at all.  Why the Office of Legislative Legal Services refuses to use the formal name, Colorado Revised Statutes, is beyond me.  They could have even used something like ‘Colorado State Law 2014′ which would have been more descriptive and had a better chance of an individual stumbling onto it through a search engine.  Instead OLLS apparently intends to keep their website to those in the know.  That is a shame.  CoCommonLaw is happy to point users to where they can access and download the law for free without signing a contract.

Colorado Revised Statutes 2014
Colorado Revised Statutes 2014

Another thing that is the same is the link to the Colorado Revised Statutes.   Still the Colorado General Assembly, Office of Legislative Legal Services, or any other statewide agency publicly acknowledges this free version of the Colorado Revised Statutes exists.  Instead and consistently, all of the links point to LexisNexis (LN), which forces individuals to sign a legally binding contract and give up rights in order to read the state law.  I went into detail about this statewide practice in my previous article, A Case for Ignorance of Colorado Law – Revisited.  Colorado pushes users to LN’s website, where individuals either have to enter into a contract of adhesion or purchase the state statutes for an exorbitant amount.

Lastly nothing, to the best of my knowledge, has changed with the Colorado General Assembly copyright on either parts or all of the state statutes.  Theoretically, the state of Colorado could come back and sue individuals under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 2-5-115 or § 2-5-118 (2).  It is a shame that has not changed either.

At least, the state continued to let individuals have access to their secret set of state laws.  Something is better than nothing.

Denver Sheriff Does Not Want to Share Accreditation Standards

The Denver Sheriff is really proud of the accreditations it has been awarded, really proud. On the front page of the Denver Sheriff website the accreditation are boasted about.  If that is not enough, Denver Sheriff Elias Diggins sat down with a Denver Post Editorial Writer and talked, and talked about the Department’s accreditations and how useful they are.

Because of the hype, I am interested to find out what these accreditations consist of.  How is the Denver Sheriff able to maintain these prestigious accreditations when they have faced numerous allegations of brutality and corruption by deputies?  The allegations were so severe former Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson was voluntarily demoted.  So what can the Denver Sheriff be doing so right with so much stuff going so wrong?

I made inquiries into two of the three accreditation standards that the Denver Sheriff currently holds: The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA), and The American Correctional Association (ACA).  Both agencies told me the only way I could get a copy of their policies was to purchase a year-long license for about $100. I then figured to turn to the Denver Sheriff.  In the article with the Denver Post Editorial Writer, Sheriff Diggins clearly states he is in possession of the records.  “‘These standards help anyone get better,’ Diggins said, pointing to boxes of documents for ACA accreditation on the floor of his office.”

My thought was I would file a public records request with the Denver Sheriff and get the standards directly from the Sheriff’s Office (this is the same approach I used to get the Colorado Revised Statutes).  Well it turns out the Denver Sheriff likes the brag about the fact they are accredited by three agencies, but they really don’t want to share what those accreditations entail.  The Denver Post article never once inquired into goes into the accreditations.  Kinda seems like it would be an important and newsworthy question to ask an embattled agency like the Denver Sheriff what their standards are.

So I filed my Open Records request with the Denver Department of Safety and last night I received a non-responsive, response.  “The accreditation standards requested in the email below are set by each accrediting body and are therefore records of each body.  Please direct your request to CALEA and ACA.” (See email screenshot below). The Denver Department of Safety tried to deflect my request.

Denver Sheriff Public Records Request Denial

Continue reading Denver Sheriff Does Not Want to Share Accreditation Standards