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Signed Policy, Compelling Interest Permits Colorado County Employee’s Sexually Explicit Email's Disclosure

Arapahoe County (Colorado) Clerk and Recorder, Tracy Baker, and Deputy Clerk Leesa Sale, appealed the court-ordered disclosure of 622 emails and an investigative sexual harassment report. 570 of the emails contained sexually explicit messages between Baker and Sale. 101 personal and work email's production was affirmed. The report's disclosure was vacated and further proceedings were ordered.

Baker was accused of various misconduct by a former chief deputy clerk and recorder in 2002. A private investigator's report included the emails. The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners, after receiving media requests for the report, requested judicial production determination. The report's disclosure was ordered in it's entirety which spurred the appeal by Baker and Sale.

The Division Five Court of Appeals of Colorado held that signed county policy by Baker and Sale precluded privacy entitlement, but agreed that they had no warning that any person could acquire a copy. Remand was ordered to determine further production due to the State's compelling interest and in consideration of a limited privacy expectation. See: In re Board of County Commissioners. 95 P.3d 593 (Colo. App. 2003).

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Related legal case

In re Board of County Commissioners