Colorado Rights Blog

June 14th, 2016

Boulder’s Reputation Tainted by Aggressive Enforcement of Anti-Homeless Camping Ban

Guest blogger By: Guest blogger This commentary from ACLU of Colorado speaker and volunteer Darren O'Connor first appeared in the Boulder Weekly on June 9, 2016. The beauty of Boulder, nestled in the Foothills and dominated by the Flatirons, is a metro area gem that attracts a great number of visitors and would be residents wishing to enjoy its charms. Its reputation as an idyllic, liberal city, however, was recently tainted by University of Denver Law School’s report, Too High A Price: What Criminalizing Homelessness Costs.... | Read More

May 17th, 2016

2016: A Good Year (and Far Better than Expected) for Civil Liberties in the Colorado Legislature

Denise Maes By: Denise Maes The 120-day Colorado legislative session ended last Wednesday night, May 11. Much has been made about the failure of bipartisanship and many have referred to this year’s session as “anti-climatic” and a “house divided.” For the issues that received much media attention, I suppose these references ring true. The legislature failed to re-classify Colorado’s hospital provider fee as an enterprise fund, failed to pass a Presidential primary bill even though there were two bills, each with.... | Read More

April 13th, 2016

Fact Sheet: HB 1309 – A Bill to Safeguard the Right to Counsel in Municipal Court

Denise Maes By: Denise Maes JAILED DEFENDANTS TOO POOR TO BOND OUT REQUIRE COUNSEL AT FIRST APPEARANCE The U.S. Supreme Court has held the first appearance in court is a “critical stage” where the defendant’s right to counsel attaches. A defendant’s first appearance involves much more than an advisement of rights, and often results in a guilty plea. At this stage, counsel can advocate for reduced bond, ensure the defendant is not inappropriately pressured to plead guilty, advise defendants on the collateral consequences.... | Read More

April 6th, 2016

Fact Sheet: HB 1328 – A Bill to Protect Colorado’s Children from Solitary Confinement

Denise Maes By: Denise Maes Since 1999, Colorado law has prohibited the seclusion of children as punishment. Children may only be secluded during an ongoing emergency, when a child is in immediate danger of harming self or others. In June 2014, the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections (DYC) was found to have repeatedly violated the law. An investigation by the ACLU, CJDC and Colorado Disability Law revealed DYC had illegally placed children in isolation for days, weeks, even more than a month as punishment when there.... | Read More

April 6th, 2016

Fact sheet: HB 1311 – A Bill to End Debtors’ Prisons in Colorado

Denise Maes By: Denise Maes Municipal Courts Use Legal "Loopholes" to Keep Debtors' Prisons Alive and Well Municipal courts create debtors' prisons by using jail or the threat of jail to collect debts from the poor. In 2014, the legislature passed HB-1061 with near-unanimous bipartisan support, acting to end debtors' prisons in Colorado and ensure that no one ever be incarcerated for failure to pay court debts they are too poor to pay. Municipal courts skirt the law by issuing arrest warrants for defendants who fail.... | Read More

March 11th, 2016

Move Along to Where? Sweeps Illustrate Inhumane Treatment of Homeless and Vulnerable in Colorado

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley By: Nathan Woodliff-Stanley Denver's recent "sweeps" of people experiencing homelessness are a sad reminder of how inhumanely many Colorado cities treat those among us who already face challenging circumstances. The criminalization of homelessness never rests, and people who are homeless almost never get any peaceful rest as a result. Unhoused persons in Denver and other communities in Colorado are routinely arrested for minor offenses, or told by police to "move along," even in the middle of the night, often multiple times..... | Read More

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  • Our membership has quadrupled in the last six months, making it possible to do more than ever to protect civil rights and civil liberties in Colorado. Thank you to all our new members, supporters, and donors, and the ones who’ve been with us for years.

  • Leisel Kemp, whose brother Jason was killed by CSP after they entered his home without a warrant, spoke at the 2013 Bill of Rights Dinner about the ACLU’s legal advocacy on behalf of her family.

  • Out of Sight, Out of Mind is an original short film from the ACLU of Colorado about a man who has spent 17 years in solitary confinement and now suffers from debilitating mental illness.