Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Fall/Spring Internships and Externships

Law students interested in public interest work are encouraged to apply for part-time fall and spring internships with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado in Denver. Full-time externship positions are also available.

Law students working at the ACLU of Colorado will gain valuable experience working under the supervision of ACLU attorneys on the wide variety of civil liberties issues that comprise the ACLU’s docket. Visit for descriptions of recent ACLU of Colorado cases, and for descriptions of recent ACLU of Colorado advocacy.

Students interning or participating in externships with the ACLU of Colorado participate in many aspects of litigation and legal advocacy including legal research, legal writing, interviewing witnesses, and other factual and legal investigation. Students will also participate in meetings with staff and co-counsel discussing case selection and trial strategy.

Students will be working with an enthusiastic group of over-qualified and underpaid individuals who are committed to their work and the organization. There are currently 26 full-time staff members, including five attorneys in the legal department, who work with numerous volunteers.

Students are encouraged to seek grants or fellowships from public interest fellowship funds through their law school or other funders. Arrangements can also be made with the student’s law school for work/study stipends. Some students have received law school credit for their work. Unfortunately, the ACLU of Colorado must rely on students’ ability to obtain their own funding or school credit for the fall and spring externships.

The ACLU prefers students who will have completed two years of law school, have a demonstrated interest in civil rights, civil liberties and social justice, and possess excellent writing, communication and organizational skills. Exceptional first-year students are also encouraged to apply.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and we strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction or any other characteristic protected by applicable law and members of other underrepresented and marginalized groups.

Applicants for fall and spring semester positions are accepted on a rolling basis and will be reviewed until the positions are filled. Interested applicants for the fall and spring semesters are encouraged to submit their applications no later than two months before the beginning of the semester.

Due to risks from COVID-19, the ACLU of Colorado closed its office and implemented a mandatory work-from-home policy beginning on March 16, 2020.  The work-from-home policy currently remains in effect.  Some of our work nevertheless requires some staff members to go into the office on occasion, and we have taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of staff while in the office.

Students interested in an applying for an externship with the ACLU of Colorado should send a cover letter explaining your interest in the ACLU and your personal connection, if any, to our mission, a resume, transcript, list of three references (with email and phone number contact information), and short writing sample (5-10 pages).  Applications can be sent by email to ACLU of Colorado Paralegal Nicole Loy at, with “Law Student Internship” in the subject line.  Applications may also be sent by mail to:

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director
Attn: Law Student Internship Application
ACLU of Colorado
303 E. 17th Avenue, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80203

The ACLU of Colorado will confirm the receipt of applications by email. No phone calls please. Qualified applicants will be contacted directly by ACLU of Colorado legal department staff for an interview. Any questions regarding whether the application has been received or is complete should be directed to ACLU of Colorado Paralegal Nicole Loy at