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H_JUD_2019A 02/19/2019 01:33:05 PM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Date 02/19/2019
Attendance
Benavidez X
Bockenfeld X
Carver X
Galindo X
Gonzales-Gutierrez *
McKean *
Roberts X
Sandridge X
Tipper X
Herod X
Weissman X
Time 01:33:05 PM to 06:35:03 PM
Place HCR 0112
This Meeting was called to order by Weissman
This Report was prepared by Bo Pogue
Hearing Items Action Taken
SB19-043 Amended, referred to House Appropriations
HB19-1119 Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole

SB19-043 - Amended, referred to House Appropriations


01:33:34 PM  

The committee was called to order. A quorum was present. Representatives Herod and Carver, prime sponsors, presented Senate Bill 19-043, concerning an increase in the number of district court judges in certain judicial districts.  Representatives Carver and Herod discussed the need for the legislation. The following persons testified regarding SB 19-043:

Judge Michael Martinez, representing the Second Judicial District, testified in support of the bill. Judge Martinez explained why more judges are needed in certain districts.

Chris Ryan, State Court Administrator with the Judicial Branch, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Ryan explained how his department determines the proper number of judges in each judicial district, and discussed the need for more judges in certain districts. Judge Martinez responded to questions regarding caseload increases in Second Judicial District criminal courts, and the use of magistrates in district court. Discussion ensued on this point. Discussion followed regarding factors driving increased court filings, and plans for managing the increase. Discussion returned to the use of magistrates in district court. Mr. Ryan responded to questions regarding the felony caseload increase in Colorado as compared to other states, and optimum staffing.

02:03:48 PM  

Discussion continued regarding optimum staffing for judicial districts. Mr. Ryan responded to questions regarding accountability surrounding the judges allotted by SB 19-043. Judge Martinez provided additional remarks in support of the bill.

Ms. Megan Ring, Colorado State Public Defender, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Ring discussed a forthcoming amendment, and the increase in court filings that is driving the need for more judges in certain judicial districts.

Ms. Maureen Cain, representing the Office of the State Public Defender (OSPD), testified in support of the bill. Ms. Cain addressed questions raised during earlier discussion pertaining to felony filings. Ms. Ring responded to questions regarding how she manages staffing in her office. Discussion ensued regarding staffing increases for the OSPD under the bill, and trends in certain court filings. Representative Weissman recounted recent history pertaining to increases in judges. Discussion followed regarding the impact of these judge increases on hiring with the OSPD.

02:28:47 PM  

Ms. Ashley Chase, representing the Office of the Child's Representative, testified in support of SB 19-043. Ms. Chase discussed an increase in court filings associated with youth, and court delays associated with a lack of judges.

02:32:57 PM  

Representative Carver explained the effect of amendment L.001 (Attachment A). The committee recessed for a title ruling.



02:35:49 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.001
Moved Carver
Seconded Tipper
Benavidez No
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver Yes
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean Yes
Roberts Yes
Sandridge Yes
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
YES: 10   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
02:35:50 PM  

The committee returned to order. The chair ruled that amendment L.001 fits under the title of the bill.

02:36:47 PM  

Representative Benavidez explained the effect of amendment L.003 (Attachment B). Discussion ensued regarding the amendment's merits.



02:43:27 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.003
Moved Benavidez
Seconded Weissman
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Galindo No
Gonzales-Gutierrez No
McKean No
Roberts No
Sandridge No
Tipper No
Herod No
Weissman No
YES: 1   NO: 10   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  FAIL
02:43:28 PM  

Representative Benavidez explained the effect of the amendment L.004 (Attachment C). The committee discussed the merits of the amendment.



02:51:43 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.004 Severed Section A, Page 1, lines 1 through 22 and line 31, as amended to substitute "October" for "November" on lines 5 and 6..
Moved Herod
Seconded Carver
Benavidez
Bockenfeld
Carver
Galindo
Gonzales-Gutierrez
McKean
Roberts
Sandridge
Tipper
Herod
Weissman
YES: 0   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  Pass Without Objection
02:52:17 PM  

Discussion ensued regarding the severing of amendment L.004.



02:57:50 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.004 severed section B, page 1, lines 24 through 30.
Moved Benavidez
Seconded Bockenfeld
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver No
Galindo No
Gonzales-Gutierrez No
McKean Yes
Roberts No
Sandridge No
Tipper No
Herod No
Weissman No
YES: 3   NO: 8   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  FAIL
02:57:51 PM  

Representatives Carver and Herod provided closing remarks in support of SB 19-043. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.



03:11:20 PM
Motion Refer Senate Bill 19-043, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations.
Moved Carver
Seconded Herod
Benavidez No
Bockenfeld Yes
Carver Yes
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean Yes
Roberts Yes
Sandridge Yes
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 10   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS



HB19-1119 - Amended, referred to the Committee of the Whole


03:11:33 PM  

The committee recessed.

03:19:13 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representative Coleman, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 19-1119, concerning public disclosure of a completed peace officer internal investigation file.  Representative Coleman explained the effect of the bill and discussed its need. He confined his remarks to amendment L.002, a strike-below amendment (Attachment D). Committee members received a summary sheet about the bill (Attachment E).

03:24:35 PM  

The following persons testified regarding HB 19-1119:

Mr. Donald Sisson, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Sisson explained why the bill would undermine concepts of fairness with regard to police internal investigations. He cited several cases pertaining to internal investigations that have been invoked to support the bill, and discussed the loss of officer privacy as a result of the bill.

Mr. Michael Deedon, representing the Fraternal Order of Police, testified in opposition to the bill. Mr. Deedon explained how internal investigations operate, and discussed the functioning of these investigations under current law. Mr. Sisson and Mr. Deedon responded to questions regarding how internal investigations operate, and the effect of certain court rulings on these investigations.

03:52:19 PM  

Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding the release of certain types of statements resulting from police internal investigations. Discussion returned to certain internal investigation criteria resulting from court rulings, and the impact of HB 19-1119 on a police officer's right to privacy. Discussion followed regarding the impact of internal investigations on members of law enforcement and their families, and the adequacy of the current internal investigation process. Discussion turned to the City and County of Denver's current internal investigation process. Mr. Deedon responded to questions about suspects falsifying information, which results in an internal affairs investigation. The committee and witnesses discussed a series of hypothetical scenarios. Discussion returned to certain jurisprudence surrounding police internal investigations.

04:28:10 PM  

Mr. Sisson responded to questions regarding data associated with the veracity of internal investigation police files, and the information divulged by release of files.

04:32:39 PM  

Ms. Denise Maes, representing the ACLU, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Ms. Maes discussed the stakeholder process in crafting the bill, and compromises that have reduced opposition to the legislation. Ms. Maes rebutted assertions made during previous testimony, and discussed the limited scope of the bill.

Ms. Rebecca Wallace, representing the ACLU, testified in support of the bill. She discussed internal investigation cases that the ACLU has litigated. Ms. Wallace explained that litigation is not a solution to the problem, and discussed the stakeholder process that resulted in the bill.  She answered questions from the committee about discussions with law enforcement. Questions were raised about the value of exposing false accusations. Discussion ensued regarding court rulings pertaining to law enforcement internal investigations, and the necessity for the legislation in light of the processes currently in place for release of internal investigation information. Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding Denver's internal investigation process, and the timeline for the process established by HB 19-1119. Ms. Wallace responded to questions regarding a waiver of privacy interests under the bill, and internal investigations in states with laws similar to HB 19-1119. Discussion followed regarding the need for internal investigation disclosure specifically for police officers. Ms. Maes responded to questions regarding the need for disclosure of a full file associated with a police internal investigation, and the position of certain stakeholders on the bill.

05:16:22 PM  

Ms. Margaret Kwoka, representing the University of Denver, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Committee members received a report entitled "Access Denied" (Attachment F). Ms. Kwoka briefed the committee on the contents of the report.

Ms. Brittany Garza, representing the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Garza discussed other states that have laws in place similar to HB 19-1119.

Ms. Shayne Madsen, representing the Independence Institute, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Madsen discussed the stakeholder process that resulted in the bill, and explained that the bill promotes transparency while not being anti-police. Discussion ensued regarding Ms. Garza's findings on internal investigation transparency practices in other jurisdictions.

05:26:57 PM  

Ms. Noelle Phillips, representing the Colorado Press Association, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Ms. Phillips recounted her experience as a reporter attempting to discover information on internal investigations, and the implications of her findings.

Ms. Jill Farschman, representing the Colorado Press Association, testified in support of the bill. Ms. Farschman discussed the importance of transparency and accountability. Ms. Phillips responded to questions regarding the need for the bill in light of Denver's internal investigation records release policy.

05:34:46 PM  

Mr. Jeff Roberts, representing the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Mr. Roberts discussed the benefits of transparency and accountability, and local government denials of record requests by reporters. He recapped certain elements of previous testimony.

Mr. Chris Halsne, representing Fox 31 News, testified in support of the bill. Mr. Halsne discussed the importance of records kept by government entities being transparent, and the role of news outlets in informing the public. He discussed his efforts to attain police internal investigation records, and the role of police. Mr. Halsne responded to questions regarding his attempts to attain internal investigation records, and records that should be kept confidential. Discussion ensued regarding the sufficiency of the release of a summary of internal investigation records, and the ability to redact internal investigation reports. Mr. Halsne responded to questions regarding the process of discovering police internal investigation records.

06:01:19 PM  

Mr. Patrick Pontyondy, representing Common Cause, testified in support of HB 19-1119. Mr. Pontyondy discussed the importance of transparency with respect to police activities, and the benefits of the bill.

06:04:10 PM  

Discussion ensued regarding the merits of amendment L.002.



06:14:08 PM
Motion Adopt amendment L.002
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sandridge No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
06:14:10 PM  

The committee recessed.

06:15:28 PM  

The committee returned to order. Representative Coleman provided closing remarks in support of HB 19-1119. Various committee members provided their positions on the bill.



06:34:51 PM
Motion Refer House Bill 19-1119, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.
Moved Herod
Seconded Galindo
Benavidez Yes
Bockenfeld No
Carver No
Galindo Yes
Gonzales-Gutierrez Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sandridge No
Tipper Yes
Herod Yes
Weissman Yes
Final YES: 7   NO: 4   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


06:35:03 PM   The committee adjourned.