Journalism that helps put the “justice” in our justice system

A copy of The Colorado Independent's petition before the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by Rachel Lorenz)

Dear Indy community,

Fairness. Honesty. Thoughtfulness. Courage. As a pro-bono civil rights attorney and professor of law, these are the values I try to bring to the classroom and the courtroom. They are also the values that The Colorado Independent delivers to our state through its unique style of nonprofit journalism.   

As an advocate, I have represented people facing everything from abridged speech rights to unjust capital sentences. This work is messy. As a matter of law, the issues can be complicated. As a matter of humanity, they can be even more difficult to understand. In my role as a teacher, I strive to motivate my students to engage with this complexity, even when doing so demands the hard work of questioning the very institutions, societal values, and personal beliefs that we hold most dear. But to engage with difficult issues relevant to social change requires a steady stream of thoughtful and careful journalism.

It is no secret that free speech and transparency are under siege in this country.  As other news outlets have shied away from engaging in tough issues, The Indy has stepped-up its efforts by covering uncomfortable, expensive stories even when it requires its team to engage in litigation to obtain the information they need. The Indy’s fair reporting on even the most emotionally-charged of issues keeps us connected and informed as a community. And hard-hitting investigative work, such as The Indy’s battle to obtain court records in Sir Mario Owens’s capital case, holds our leaders accountable. I’m proud to have recently co-written a friend-of-the-court brief in support of The Indy’s petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. This kind of journalism plays a critical role in Colorado’s fight to ensure there’s “justice” in our justice system and in our society at large.

As an attorney, professor, and Denver dad, I support The Indy in making our community a more informed, engaged, and reflective place. I hope you’ll join me with a donation this Colorado Gives Day, which is tomorrow. Contributions are being tripled to keep this indispensable nonprofit news team moving bravely into 2019.

With gratitude,

Justin Marceau