Denver Post Loses Bid For Pol’s Cell Phone Records…

Though they succeeded in getting Denver Mayor-Elect Michael Hancock to release his cell phone records, theDenver Post wasn’t so lucky in their attempts to see whom former Gov. Bill Ritter has been chatting with.

The Post’s efforts to see the personal cell phone records of Ritter, a request made in 2008, was thwarted by the Colorado Supreme Court Monday, which ruled that the Post’s claim that Ritter’s personal cell phone records did not fall under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Under the CORA, “…any person may request access to inspect and obtain a copy of any public record. … a public record is defined as any writing ‘made, maintained or kept by . . . any . . . political subdivision of the state . . . for use in the exercise of functions required or authorized by law or administrative rule.’ This provision makes clear that records that involve no expenditure of public funds are nevertheless “public records,” and are subject to inspection under the CORA. . . .”

While the Post argued that if a public official uses his personal phone for official government business, those phone records become public record, the Supreme Court ruled that the Post had to first prove that the Ritter, who opted not to seek a second term, had actually used his personal cell phone (in addition to a state-issued Blackberry) for government business, rather than simply conclude that he did. Since they failed to do so, the court said, Ritter was under no obligation to produce records proving that he did not use his personal cell phone for such purposes.