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Lawmakers consider updating state's Old West-style coroner system

Published On: Mar 09 2013 01:10:53 PM CST
DENVER, Colo. -

Colorado lawmakers are considering whether to update the state's Old West-style coroner system.

The state's 63 county coroners are mostly elected and aren't required to have a medical degree. They operate under laws written in the days when Western coroners did little more than collect bodies after frontier shootouts.

The head of the Colorado Coroners' Association said the update is desperately overdue.

The law was last revised in 2011 to settle the question of when autopsies are required. This year's bill continues that work by dusting off other arcane bits of Colorado's death-investigation protocol.

However, some say it doesn't go far enough.

The National Academy of Sciences said coroner systems should be phased out and replaced with board-certified medical examiners.

The proposed update is awaiting consideration by the Senate


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