Colorado Supreme Court to Hear Tattered Cover Case

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On December 5 at 8:30 a.m., the Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Tattered Cover Book Store's appeal to protect the privacy rights of bookstore customers.

On October 20, 2000, Denver District Court Judge J. Stephen Phillips ordered Tattered Cover to reveal the contents of one of its shipping envelopes that police had removed from the trash of a suspected drug dealer. Law enforcement authorities seeking the records asserted that they would assist in a case involving the manufacture of methamphetamines. The books were found at the site of an illegal methamphetamine laboratory.

The Denver bookstore has argued that protecting the privacy of customers' book purchase records was a crucial First Amendment fight.

Among those supporting Tattered Cover and the store's owner Joyce Meskis is the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), which filed an amicus brief on the store's behalf. "The Colorado Supreme is known as a court friendly to free speech concerns," said ABFFE President Chris Finan. "We're hopeful that they're going to see the importance of the free speech issue in this case."