Colorado Rights Blog

September 8th, 2016

Darsean Kelly Knew His Rights. He Got Tased Anyway.

John Krieger By: John Krieger Police in Aurora, Colorado, got a call about a man pulling a gun on a kid. They had no description of the suspect. On their way to the scene, they stopped two Black men walking down the sidewalk. Darsean Kelley, one of the men, followed the officers’ orders to hold his hands above his head and turn around. His repeated requests for an explanation as to why they had been detained went unanswered. Even though it was clear he had no weapons and he was no threat to the officers, Darsean was tased.... | Read More

July 29th, 2016

Protect Freedom on the 16th Street Mall

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado This column was originally published on 7/29/16 in the Denver Business Journal. In any discussion of improving perceptions of the 16th Street Mall, it is essential to remember that the Mall is a public space, and therefore must be open to all segments of the public.  Any attempt to drive away some people because of how they look or how much money they have is an unacceptable abuse of individual freedom and civil liberties. It is also important to remember that for the most part, the 16th Street.... | Read More

June 15th, 2016

Which Way Did Colorado Legislators Vote on Civil Liberties in 2016?

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado As we do after every legislative session, we prepared a legislative scorecard so you, our members and supporters, can see where each legislator stands on civil liberties issues. View the 2016 ACLU of Colorado Legislative Scorecard. This year, we picked six bills to score on the scorecard. The ACLU was of course involved in many other legislative initiatives, but these six represent a cross section of civil liberties issues we work on – mass incarceration, economic justice, solitary confinement.... | Read More

June 14th, 2016

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

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 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

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 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

ACLU of Colorado By: ACLU of Colorado 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

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  • 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. 

  • Ronald Johnson is pre-diabetic, suffers from asthma and high blood pressure, and regularly uses an inhaler to breathe. His age and respiratory ailments put him at risk of serious illness and death if he contracts COVID-19. With over hundreds of active cases in Colorado’s prisons, his family fears he will not make it out alive. His daughter, Amber, says, “In prison, he can’t protect himself and he can’t social distance. My deep fear is that my dad will die in prison. That is an awful, traumatic reality to consider. My chest is tight just thinking about how quickly it spreads and how vulnerable he is.”

    Governor Hickenlooper shortened his sentence following testimony from family, friends and correctional officers advocating for his early release. Yet, he is still eight years away from parole. While he remains in prison, COVID-19 continues to spread. Ronald’s three siblings, four children and four grandchildren are desperate for his release.

    Read more about Ronald Johnson and other at-risk incarcerated people.

  • Tuesday Olson knew her pregnancy was in trouble and tried to access hospital care as soon as possible. But there was a problem: she was in jail. This is her story.
  • It’s time to end the death penalty in Colorado. Family members who lost loved ones to murder speak out against an unjust and broken system.