Judge denies records request

Woman wanted sheriff’s report

A Cortez woman didn’t get much love from the court last week regarding a Valentine’s Day public records request of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office.

After an hour-long hearing on Thursday, June 19, Sherrie Simmons’ request for a 2013 pretrial services report from the sheriff’s office was denied. In his ruling, District Court Judge Todd Plewe said the requested records didn’t exist.

“The reality of this case, I cannot find the request was specific enough to hold the sheriff’s office accountable,” Plewe said.

Colorado law requires each of the state’s 12 pretrial service agencies to submit an annual report to the legislature every November. The Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office failed to file a report last year, which led to Simmons request.

“The report that was supposed to go to the state does not exist,” said Michael Green, attorney for the sheriff’s office.

During the evidentiary hearing, Montezuma County Undersheriff Lynda Carter testified she could provide Simmons with financial records, but that it would take up to four hours of staff time to redact personal information from the digital files. The sheriff’s office requires a deposit to cover data collection expenses.

“We’re willing to provide the information if (Simmons) is willing to pay,” Carter said.

Simmons paid $104 for an annual financial summary of the sheriff’s pretrial services program. Simmons said she wanted a monthly financial breakdown.

After the hearing, Simmons said she planned to modify and resubmit her public records request.

Carter said the sheriff’s office was not required to file the report, claiming the agency set its own reporting policies. Officials in Alamosa and El Paso counties also didn’t file a pretrial services report last year.