Colorado lawmakers vote to close child autopsy reports

Colorado lawmakers are poised to close public access to autopsy reports on minors, bowing to a request from county coroners who say disclosure of the records unnecessarily invades the privacy of families and encourages copycat teen suicides.

Journalist associations and open government advocates argue that juvenile autopsy reports are important tools of transparency that help the public understand the circumstances of suspicious child deaths, hold the coroners accountable and allow for the discovery of serious flaws in the state’s child welfare system.

But Senate Bill 18-223passed the House on a voice vote Monday night, making the reports confidential and available only to certain parties. An amendment permits “any person” to petition a district court for access to a report “on the grounds that disclosure … constitutes a significant public benefit.” Read more…