Public Records Information
Colorado is ranked eight in the United States by size with just over 104,000 square miles. It’s capital city Denver was primarily known for the gold rush in 1858 and is the present home of the state capitol building and government. There are 64 counties that serve as an extension of Colorado’s state governments. 271 cities in Colorado serve to address local issues and residents. Cities elect official such as mayor, commissions and committees.
Colorado, the "Centennial State" obtained statehood on August 1, 1876, 100 years after the signing of our nation's Declaration of Independence. The name Colorado, has its origin in the Spanish language, meaning "colored red". In 1893, Colorado was the second state to grant women the right to vote. Early large number of settlers arrived upon the discovery of gold and the state’s booming mining industry began.
Today, Colorado’s economy benefits from agriculture and manufacturing. Due to being amongst the leading states in cattle and dairy production, food processing is a large part of the economy. Mining of gold is no long a major industry in Colorado. However, the mining of other natural resources such as lumber, oil, coal, uranium and gravel are. Historical sites, scenery, climate and numerous parks has been key to the state’s strong tourism economy.
Colorado's state constitution adopted in 1876 provides for three branches of government consisting of the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches. The state legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 65 members and the Senate has 35. There are 64 counties in Colorado. County governments have great importance in Colorado as the state has no secondary civil subdivisions such as townships. The population of the state is over 5 million residents in over 104,094 square miles and is 37 in the U.S. for populous density.
In an effort to guarantee that the public has access to records of government bodies at all levels, the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) was enacted in 1969. Prior to this law, citizens did not have the ability to access public records without permission of the custodian of records with the exception of those instances when the custodian of records was forbidden to allow access. The purpose of the act was to let Colorado residents copy, obtain or inspect public records held by the state or local governments. The open records laws, federal or statewide, are also in place to make the people’s government transparent. Residents can see information such as government employee pay to public meetings and budgeting. The federal government begun its open record laws with the passage of FOIA in 1966. Thereafter, states individually started writing their own laws regarding to state and local Colorado government records. Open record laws are reviewed as well as challenged or utilized in courts by agencies as well as reporters seeking to uncover government operations for scrutiny.
Open records laws also apply to information collected by governing bodies. Records that residents need such as recorded deeds, vital records, archives, licenses and court files. Students and researchers and private citizens of Colorado can obtain information from individual agencies. A birth certificate is required in many instances such as passports and other applications where an identity needs to be verified. Official birth records and other vital records such as marriage, divorce and death can be requested from the Colorado state vital records, department of public health and environment. Colorado courts are a part of the state government and therefore fall under the public’s right to know policies. Colorado county records such as court filings are also open to the general public. You can begin your search for criminal and civil cases, judgments and liens. A criminal history search can be requested from the Colorado’s department of public safety. This can assist its residents in conducting background checks when necessary.
Requests for vital records such as marriages, divorces, birth and death certificates can be made directly to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Search marriages from 1975 to the present. Dissolution of marriage, separation and annulments are available from 1968 to the present. Find out how to order a Colorado birth or death certificates.
Court Records Information
The Colorado municipal courts hear cases involving moving traffic, parking, and other miscellaneous violations, and exclusive jurisdiction to hear cases involving ordinance violations. County courts have jurisdiction over torts, contracts, real property rights up to $15,000, exclusive jurisdiction over small claims up to $7,500. County criminal courts hear felonies cases, criminal appeals, have exclusive jurisdiction over misdemeanors, cases involving traffic violations.
The state's trial courts are the district courts with jurisdiction over torts, contracts, real property rights, estate, civil appeals, mental health, general civil matter and have exclusive domestic relations jurisdiction. District criminal courts hear felony matters, criminal appeals, and general criminal matters, with exclusive juvenile jurisdiction except in Denver.
Jury trials are permitted in matters, except in appeals cases. The Colorado court of appeals have mandatory jurisdiction in cases involving civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, and juvenile cases. Colorado's highest court is the supreme court, with mandatory jurisdiction in civil, capital criminal, criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, disciplinary, advisory opinion, original proceeding, and interlocutory decision cases. The highest court has discretion (rather than mandatory) to hear cases involving civil, noncapital criminal, administrative agency, juvenile, advisory opinion, and original proceeding cases.
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