Planned Parenthood case must be opened

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In the case against the man accused in the shooting rampage at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood office, the American public is still being kept in the dark.

District Court Judge Gilbert Martinez is suppressing information that is routinely provided in the vast majority of criminal cases in Colorado. The news media, including The Denver Post, requested that Martinez unseal the arrest warrant and search warrant affidavits in the case for which Robert Dear faces 179 felony charges, including eight counts of first-degree murder .

Dear apparently was fueled by an anti-abortion stance, based upon the target and his own statements in court since. But do the affidavits cite more evidence or motives? And while President Obama invoked the tragic mass shootings in taking executive action on firearms, we still don't know the type of gun or guns used in this shooting or how Dear obtained his weaponry.

Martinez says courts normally unseal warrants after a preliminary hearing or waiver of a hearing. Actually, in almost every criminal case, arrest affidavits are released immediately after a suspect is in custody. And search warrant affidavits are unsealed soon after the search is complete.

The information in the documents will not prejudice potential jurors, hamper the case or besmirch witnesses. But it is vital to the preservation of an open judicial system.

The Denver Post


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