Colorado's open records laws are supposed to keep government officials accountable, but getting documents can mean paying huge fees or becoming tangled in expensive and lengthy legal battles.
In some cases, the cost and difficulty of obtaining records is enough to drive citizens away. In other cases, officials use vague legal standards like "contrary to the public interest" to deny any access.
Critics, meanwhile, note that the same officials who decline requests may also be embarrassed when certain documents become public.
The CALL7 Investigators inspected scores of requests made under open records laws, confronted clerks with hidden cameras and interviewed citizens, officials and legal experts around Colorado.
When asked about their records policies, cities and agencies refused to be interviewed on camera. Throughout months of work, only two officials ever agreed to talk.
High court upholds record reimbursement
The Colorado Supreme Court has sided with open-government advocates in a case over records and court costs.
School violence data never audited, made public
A joint investigation by 7NEWS and The Denver Post has uncovered serious flaws in Colorado's school violence reporting.
CPSC launches toy seahorse investigation
The CPSC is investigating the Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse after a CALL7 report revealed dozens of complaints.
Lawmakers approve government records bill
A bill headed to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk will limit the fees for Colorado citizens seeking public records.
Battle between Poudre, parents ended Friday
Legal proceedings between the Poudre School District and a student's family ended Friday without a judge's ruling.
No charges for destroying records, DA decides
The Larimer County DA says it will not pursue charges against the Poudre School District after it destroyed public records.
Lawmakers consider record fees bill
A bill moving through the state legislature aims to standardize public records fees.
Poudre SD faces criminal complaint
The Fort Collins Police Department is investigating claims the Poudre School District illegally destroyed records.
Poudre SD destroys records, sues family
Poudre School District destroyed records about a special education student, in an attempt to keep them from his family.
Accountant denies criminal Internet use
A former Denver accountant acknowledges his internet use was inappropriate but denies he did anything illegal.
City accountant fired over child porn
Denver's Public Works Department fired an accountant accused of viewing child porn at work, but the case was not referred to police.