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People v. Cichuniec, People v. Cooper

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  1. Local Legal Initiative

Case Numbers: 2021CR2806, 2021CR2800

Court: District Court, Adams County, Colorado

Clients: KDVR Fox31 Nexstar Media Group, Inc., KUSA 9News, KMGH The Denver Channel, KCNC, CBS4 News, The Associated Press, The Gazette and The Denver Gazette, and the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition

Motions to Unseal Filed: Oct. 28, 2021

Background: In September 2021, a grand jury indicted three Aurora police officers and two paramedics related to the August 2019 killing of 23-year-old Elijah McClain. According to the indictment, McClain died after police violently arrested him and paramedics injected him with a powerful sedative.

The two paramedics — Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec — both filed motions with district court in Adams County, Colorado, seeking to seal all judicial records filed in their criminal cases. The court then granted the requests, shielding the entire case files from the public.

On behalf of a coalition of news organizations, Rachael Johnson, the Reporters Committee’s Local Legal Initiative attorney in Colorado, filed motions requesting that the court order all of the court records in the two cases to be unsealed and made available to the news media and public.

Update: During a hearing on Nov. 1, 2021, a judge ordered the case files for Cooper and Cichuniec to be unsealed, but ruled that the paramedics may redact personally identifying information.

Filings:

2021-10-28: Media coalition’s motion to unseal/unsuppress judicial court records and case files