High Court Preserves E-Mail Privacy

September 2005
In a ruling that is bound to bring a sigh of relief to those who script personal, romantic and even sexually explicit e-mails on company time, the Colorado Supreme Court has decided personal means personal.
The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday blocked a Rocky Mountain News effort to obtain hundreds of romantic and sexually explicit e-mails exchanged between former Arapahoe County Clerk Tracy Baker and Leesa Sale, his lover and assistant at the time. The state's high court said Colorado's open records law distinguishes two types of government officials' correspondence: that which is about government business, and that which is about their personal lives.
Cheers to Justice Alex Martinez who authored the Court's unanimous opinion:
"The only discernible purpose of disclosing the content of these messages is to shed light on the extent of Baker and Sales' fluency with sexually-explicit terminology and to satisfy the prurient interests of the press and public."
Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple responded, "The court appears to have based its ruling on an issue that was not presented for review. We need to determine how to proceed from here." Memo to Mr. Temple: Stop looking for that technicality. Right is right.