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2/12/1997

Ramsey autopsy could

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- District Court Judge Carol Glowinsky was expected to rule late today on whether the autopsy report of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey should be made public.

Several media outlets, including Daily Times-Call, filed court documents to have the autopsy report released to the public.

However, Boulder city and county officials have argued the release of the report could jeopardize their ability to gather evidence and pursue leads into the slaying of the little girl.

In a motion filed by Boulder County Coroner John Meyer, the county states the report contains ``facts, opinions and conclusions not generally available to members of the public.''

Therefore, its disclosure may taint the ability of investigators to sort through information concerning the slaying and make it difficult to determine if a possible suspect or witness obtained information from the published autopsy or through personal knowledge.

Arguing for the media, Denver attorney Tom Kelley contended that autopsy reports are open records and cannot be sealed simply because law enforcement officials want them closed.

Autopsy reports are not considered ``criminal justice records'' which would allow officials to seal records in an ongoing investigation, Kelley contended.

To keep the document sealed, the county must show ``extraordinary circumstances,'' he argued.

Furthermore, Kelley indicated that disclosure of the autopsy report may dispel reports from unnamed sources.

``The release of objective, truthful and accurate information that may serve to confirm or rebut information already reported in the media, based upon less reliable sources, is unquestionably of the highest order in serving the public's right to receive information on matters of general interest and public concern,'' Kelley stated.