AGO 84-17.

Case Date:September 28, 1984
Colorado Attorney General Opinions 1984. AGO 84-17. September 28, 1984Department of Law Attorney General Opinion FORMAL OPINION of DUANE WOODARD Attorney General Opinion No. 84-17 AG Alpha No. JD SC AGANG Chief Justice William H. Erickson Supreme Court State Judicial Building 2 East 14th Avenue Denver, CO 80203 RE: Investment of court registry funds in interest-bearing accounts.Dear Mr. Chief Justice: I write in response to your request for my opinion about the investment of court registry funds in interest-bearing accounts. QUESTION PRESENTED AND CONCLUSION Is it lawful for the Judicial Department to earn interest for the state on funds held in the court registry? Yes. Funds in the hands of the state courts may lawfully be deposited in any authorized depository and may earn interest for the state unless retention of the interest by the state would amount to taking private property without due process of law. ANALYSIS In your request you indicate that the funds in the registry consist of fees and fines paid by litigants and defendants; restitution, garnishment, victim compensation, alimony, and support funds held until the checks clear and disbursement can be made to the recipients; and bonds, condemnation deposits, unclaimed funds, and other deposits. You also indicate that the courts provide every opportunity for parties to request that their funds be invested in special, interest-bearing accounts for the benefit of the recipient of the fund. The deposit of public moneys in Colorado is governed by statute. See section 24-75-603, C.R.S. (1982); section 24-36-103, C.R.S. (1982); title 11, articles 10.5 and 47 (1983 Supp.). The term "public moneys" is broadly defined to mean "all moneys under the control of a governmental unit." Section 11-10.5-105, C.R.S. (1983 Supp.). "Governmental unit" means: (T)he state of Colorado, every county, city and county, municipality, school district, special district, and authority located in this state, every public body corporate created or established under the constitution or any law of this state, and every board, commission, department, institution, or agency of any of the foregoing which collects, receives, or has custody of or control over public moneys. Section 11-10.5-103(8), C.R.S. (1983 Supp.). The Judicial Department is a department of state government and a governmental...

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