The Last Legislative Hurdle Passed for Repealing Criminal Libel

SB-102 passed the Colorado House today on its third reading with a unanimous vote. So far, the bill has passed both houses of the General Assembly unanimously with no amendments. That means that the final step is for Governor Hickenlooper to sign the bill and criminal libel will no longer be on the books in the state of Colorado. It’s about damned time


More Legislative Info on Criminal Libel

Senator Brophy introduced Senate Bill 102 (link to pdf) that repeals Colorado’s criminal libel statute. I haven’t seen any coverage of the bill yet, but it was just assigned to the judiciary committee. With luck, this thing will get enough juice to get passed.

Feel free to contact your legislators, but specifically here are the members of the judiciary committee that could use a push right now.

Morgan Carroll, Chair
Lucia Guzman, Vice-Chair
Angela Giron
Kevin Lundberg
Ellen Roberts
Steve King
Jeanne Nicholson

Good News on the Legislative Front

I just got off the radio with Ross Kaminsky on KOA radio. He has made the subject of criminal libel something of a personal issue because of the implications of the Colorado law for everybody that publishes, blogs or otherwise says something in a public forum.

The good news is that Senator Greg Brophy is introducing a bill to repeal Colorado’s criminal libel statute. As soon as I can find the text of the bill, I’ll post a link. I tend not to agree with Brophy on most things, but he’s right on this and good on him. That doesn’t excuse how silly he looks in bike shorts, but I’ll overlook that for this.

What It’s Like to be Involved in an Historic Lawsuit


Eight years of litigation and I’m still not used to the fact that journalism law courses bring up my case as an example of criminal libel statutes. I’m famous in a very limited and local sense of fame, sort of like if I grew a record-breaking giant pumpkin.  As far as it has affected my life, the lawsuit has been a little bit of unpleasantness in the background. It’s as though I let loose a particularly lingering fart during a very long elevator ride. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment there. Some people catch a whiff and approve. But for the most part, it’s just always been there as a lurking presence.

It wasn’t all bad. The precedents set will be helpful for other people caught in the wringer of police state stupidity. I got a bit of money out of it as well as a few free drinks. I’ve managed to meet some really cool people. Mark Silverstein from the ACLU is a standup guy and he has some great stories that are worth listening to. Working with the cooperating attorneys from Holland & Hart was an eye-opening experience- lawyers who make $500 an hour know how to get shit done. I’m glad they were the ones who mostly had to deal with the opposing council. My one brush with the fine folks at Hall & Evans gave me chills. It was rather like the scene at the end of the first Harry Potter movie. I surreptitiously checked the back of the guy’s head to see if there was a malevolent face growing out. All in all, a long ordeal that was more blessing than curse.

Now it’s all over. At least, the fussing and the fighting’s over. Anyone with even a tiny amount of google-fu will be able to find out at a glance that I’m a dude with a “checkered past”. On the other hand, at least I didn’t manage to establish a reputation for flashing my tits in exchange for a Girls Gone Wild t-shirt.  As soon as the check’s in my hand, I’ll figure out what comes next.