Proposed legislation that would bar the public in Colorado—on privacy grounds—from viewing autopsy reports on the deaths of minors is prompting resistance from open-records advocates who say it will make it harder to uncover mistakes in the child-protection system.

Steven Zansberg, a lawyer who has represented The Denver Post and other media outlets in open-records litigation, said the effort to close public access to all autopsy reports for minors is an overreach.

"To create a new categorical exemption for all autopsy reports of minors is not only unnecessary and overboard, it is a disservice to the public interest," Zansberg said in an e-mail. He added that the state's Colorado Open Records Act "provides a strong presumption of access to such reports so that the public can hold its public servants, county coroners, and other public officials who review such reports, accountable."

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