Thousands of court cases across Colorado—hundreds of them involving violent felonies—are hidden from public view, concealed behind judges’ orders that can remain in effect for years, The Denver Post has found.

More than 6,700 civil and criminal cases have been restricted from public access since 2013, usually by judges who agreed to a request from prosecutors or defense lawyers to shield them, The Post found. Of those, 3,076 are still under suppression orders that keep the details away from the public — 345 are felony criminal cases — as they work their way through the legal system, according to state computer records. Until recently, no information about any of the suppressed cases was available publicly — not the names of the defendants, the charges they faced or even the identity of the judges who closed them — until The Post began questioning the practice.

Experts in open-records law say the practice of suppressing entire cases rubs against the grain of a system intended to be transparent.

"The most outrageous, unjustifiable and unconstitutional thing you've found is the public being denied the right to know which cases are on file in our courts of law against which defendants, and to have access, at the minimum, to the indexes of those cases," said Ballard Spahr attorney Steven Zansberg.

Read the full article here. Subscription may be required.