Colorado Judicial Branch, which has been the focus of a Watchdog.org series examining its lack of transparency, was picked as a finalist for the Society of Professional Journalists “Black Hole Award.”
The winner of the dubious honor was the Virgin Islands, cited for top government officials who refuse to abide by records laws.
“What’s happening in the U.S. Virgin Islands is unacceptable,” Jonathan Anderson, chair of SPJ’s Freedom of Information Committee, said in a news release.
Colorado Judicial was named as finalist for the award given to governments that interfere the public’s right to know.
This is the second time a top journalism organization named the state courts a finalists for an award given to organizations that are not transparent.
Last year, Investigative Reporters and Editors named the courts as a finalist for the Golden Padlock Award, a recognition given to government agencies that prevent access to records and are not transparent.
Watchdog.org stories also prompted legislation this year to require the courts to abide by state records laws, but it is likely the bill will die because it was assigned to a committee known for killing legislation.
Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice has repeatedly refused to discuss the court’s transparency policies.
Court spokesman Rob McCallum seemed less than enthused about the honor.
“(T)hanks for asking, but no,” he wrote in an email response to a request for comment.
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