COLUMBINE DIARIES Status of documents disputed

A newspaper has requested that the materials be ruled public records.
DENVER (AP) -- Attorneys for a newspaper asked the Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday to rule that videotapes and writings made by the Columbine gunmen before their bloody rampage are public records, which could clear the way for a judge to release them.
The high court heard arguments from The Denver Post, the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and the Jefferson County sheriff's office, which seized the materials from the teenagers' homes shortly after they killed 12 students and a teacher in April 1999.
Attorneys for the sheriff and the gunmen's parents say the videos and documents are private property and should not be released.
Newspaper's view
Numerous reporters and victims' families have already seen some of the materials, including videos shown by the sheriff in which the teens display their arsenal and eagerly talk about plans to attack the school. Also included is a journal by Harris' father.
Post attorney Steve Zansberg said the fact that the records are being held by the sheriff's office and were used in the criminal investigation should open the materials to public review if a judge determines that releasing them would not be against the public interest.
He said such documents are necessary for the public to review the actions of its government, citing an alleged discrepancy in statements by former Sheriff John Stone.
Days after the shooting, Stone said other people may have been involved in the attack. But about a year later, the sheriff said there was no evidence suggesting anyone else was involved.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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