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Governor's phone records are not public, judge finds

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  1. Freedom of Information
A Denver judge has ruled against The Denver Post in an open-records lawsuit over phone records of Gov. Bill Ritter. According to The…

A Denver judge has ruled against The Denver Post in an open-records lawsuit over phone records of Gov. Bill Ritter.

According to The Post’s account, the newspaper sued Ritter under the Colorado Open Records Act for his personal phone records dating back 19 months.  Ritter’s attorneys said he seldom uses his state-issued telephone, but conducts regular state business calls on his personal cell phone, according to the report.

The governor’s office told The Post the open-records law does not make public such personal records, even redacted versions.

Judge Morris B. Hoffman sided with the governor, stating in his  court opinion, "I agree with the Defendant that, as a matter of law these requested billing records are likely not ‘public records’ within meaning of CORA." Since the records are kept by an individual instead of an agency, Hoffman said, the burden is on The Post to prove they are public.

The Post‘s lawyers argued that the records, which include the phone numbers of people with whom the governor had conducted business, would be public in other states, the newspaper said. But the judge noted that Colorado’s law is narrower than the others.