Media Outlets File Petition To Release Documents In Planned Parenthood Shooting

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A major step in the case of the Planned Parenthood shooting: 11 News is part of an effort to try to get more information released about what happened that day. A petition to the Colorado Supreme Court has been filed to release documents about that case.

Arrest affidavits are usually open to the public; we tell you about them all the time. In some cases, a judge can decide to keep them sealed. That's what the judge has done in this case. But one Colorado media attorney says he's wrong and the public has the right to know.

The emergency petition was filed Friday by about 20 media companies, including 11 News. It's against Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez. It all comes after Martinez sealed the arrest papers for the case against Planned Parenthood shooting suspect Robert Dear--even after the district attorney said they could be released, as long as some information is redacted.

"I think it's fairly unprecedented," said attorney Steven Zansberg.

Zansberg is representing 11 News and the other news outlets.

"I haven't seen a judge misconstrue what a prosecutor said in open court, the way the order does," said Zansberg. "This is contrary to what the people, through the district attorney, had asked for."

Now, it's in the hands of the Colorado Supreme Court.

"Despite the wealth of information the public has already received, there is still a tremendous amount of information we don't know," said Zansberg.

Some of those details include why there are 179 felony counts.

"We don't know which officers were involved, how this crime was investigated," Zansberg said.

President Obama even talked about gun violence following the shooting, saying in a statement, in part, "We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets."

Yet, we don't know what kind of weapons were used.

"The public has a constitutional right to monitor what goes on in our nation's and our state's courts," said Zansberg.

Zansberg tells 11 News, as it stands now under the judge's order, we won't have those details for a year or more.

He said the earliest we could hear from the Colorado Supreme Court is next Thursday, but there's no time limit on how long they can consider the petition.

Zansberg also points out that records have been unsealed in many other high profile cases.

11 News reached out to Chief Judge Martinez to talk to him about why the records were sealed. His office returned our call and said Martinez cannot comment about the case because it's pending before the court.