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Judge orders Columbine files made public

Some restrictions apply to release of material

By Sue Lindsay
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

A Jefferson County judge has ordered that binders of investigative files in the Columbine High School shooting be made public.

Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson ordered the information released with most of the same restrictions he has placed on other Columbine material that he has made public.

Jackson's latest order covers 40 binders of investigative files. In his order Thursday, Jackson noted that there were only 40 volumes of files, not the 200 volumes previously referred to by parties in the case.

The ruling came in a public records lawsuit filed by victims' families seeking access to the Columbine investigation information.

Jackson previously has ordered the release of the investigation report, videotapes, 911 tapes, ballistics reports and other information.

Jackson barred release of information about the composition of bombs made by gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold or why some malfunctioned.

"There is a public interest in refusing to disclose information that could be used by others to make or improve bombs that could be used to perpetuate future crimes," the judge said. However, he noted that much of the same information is on the Internet.

Identifying information about victims, their families, other possible suspects and persons included in a "hit list" prepared by Harris and Klebold should be removed, the judge ordered.

Also excluded from the public release is information about medical treatment received by injured students and teachers, and reports by law enforcement personnel of their observations while attending autopsies of deceased victims.

Jackson said he also directed the sheriff's department to remove documents seized under search warrants from the Harris and Klebold homes.

September 9, 2000