As we celebrate Independence Day it’s important to remember one of Thomas Jefferson’s greatest quotes: “Whenever people are well-informed they can be trusted with their own government.” Because keeping the public informed is not always easy. Throughout America’s 236 year history there have been numerous occasions when the news media, working on behalf of the public, has been forced to challenge government officials in an effort to protect the public right to know. Such is the case in South Texas, where according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “An Aransas Pass municipal judge violated the state’s open record laws when she declined Tuesday to release an arrest affidavit for a man accused of murder, an attorney with an open government advocacy group said.” That attorney is Joe Larsen of Houston. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. That is public,’ said…Larsen, an attorney and director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. ‘There’s simply no basis for withholding it.’” The public and news media simply must not be denied access to information contained within public records maintained by the government – especially when that information has clearly been deemed to be public under law.