Reno v. MarksAnnotate this Case
Shortly before the 2011 election, the Chaffee County Clerk and Recorder received a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request from Marilyn Marks for access to voted paper ballots from the 2010 general election. Because the Clerk believed that Colorado law prohibited disclosing voted ballots, and because Marks requested the ballots within twenty days of an upcoming election, the Clerk filed an action in district court under section 24-72-204(6)(a) seeking an order prohibiting or restricting disclosure of the ballots. Before the district court ruled on the merits of the Clerk's request, however, the General Assembly enacted section 24-72-205.5, C.R.S. (2014), providing that voted ballots are subject to CORA and describing the process by which records custodians must make them available. The Clerk then produced a single voted ballot for Marks to inspect, and the parties agreed that the only remaining issue in the case was whether Marks was entitled to costs and attorney fees. The Supreme Court held that where an official custodian sought an order prohibiting or restricting disclosure under section 24-72-204(6)(a), a prevailing records request or is entitled to costs and attorney fees in accordance with section 24-72-204(5). "Under section 24-72-204(5), a prevailing records requestor is entitled to costs and attorney fees unless the district court finds that the denial of the right of inspection was proper. Here, the district court's order reflects that the Clerk's denial of Marks' request was proper. Consequently, Marks is not entitled to attorney fees in this case." The Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals holding to the contrary.