State Supreme Court to Hear Marks v. Koch Case
Contact: Jim True, City Attorney; 970-920-5108 or email@example.com
Aspen, Colorado – April 17, 2012 – The Colorado Supreme Court announced on Monday, April 16th, that it granted the City’s petition for writ of certiorari in the Marks v. Koch case. The City of Aspen petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case following the Court of Appeals decision in favor of Marilyn Marks, a decision which overturned the District Court’s decision in favor of the City.
“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said City Attorney Jim True. “The issues within this case have important constitutional ramifications and are properly considered by our highest court.”
At issue in the lawsuit, which was originally filed in 2009, is the request of Ms. Marks to inspect images of ballots cast in the 2009 municipal election versus the right of citizens to expect that their cast ballots will remain secret. The City maintains it is a citizen’s constitutional right to vote their conscience knowing that their ballot will remain forever secret. In addition, the City maintains that the current laws prohibit the inspection of ballots.
The Supreme Court typically agrees to hear about 8% of the cases that are submitted to it. In an even smaller number does it agree to hear all issues raised by a party. In this case, the Supreme Court agreed to hear all of the issues raised by the City. The four issues the Supreme Court will consider are:
· Whether the Colorado Constitution prohibits making cast election ballots available to the public for inspection pursuant to the Colorado Open Records Act
· Whether the state’s Municipal Election Code, which has been adopted by the city, prohibits public inspection of copies of election ballots
· Whether the court of appeals erred in failing to send the case back to the district court for a hearing on whether there would be a substantial injury to the public interest in the event that inspection were allowed
· Whether the court of appeals erred in awarding appellate attorney fees to Marks
The City anticipates requesting oral argument in this case. Allowing oral argument and setting the date for such argument are discretionary decisions of the court.