John Carlson: The right to rest
(This guest column originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera. It was written by a Boulder County ACLU Chapter Board member.) By John Carlson Homelessness is not a crime. It's a status, the product of poverty. Or mental illness. Or sudden misfortune, like a big medical bill that leads to a foreclosure. It's generally acquired innocently or involuntarily, and sleeping on streets or parks is its inevitable consequence. That's because human beings are biologically compelled to rest, whether.... | Read More
The real death panels: The heavy burden of picking a jury for a death penalty trial
The verdict is in for the Boston marathon bombing trial. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found guilty. Because the prosecution is seeking death, they will now move onto the penalty phase of the trial. Death penalty trials are different than other first degree murder trials. When death is not a sentencing option the jury will come to a verdict and then the judge will hand down a sentence. However, with a death penalty trial the jury then moves into the penalty phase. In this phase it is no longer.... | Read More
A Tale of Two Cakes: The Real Truth About Colorado’s Cake Wars
(This entry also appears on the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-woodliffstanley-/a-tale-of-two-cakes-the-r_b_7029284.html) Colorado has been ground zero for the "cake wars," a seemingly trivial conflict with some serious principles at stake. Since the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defends religious liberty, freedom of speech, marriage equality and equal protection from discrimination, we care about the distinctions that these two recent high profile cake cases.... | Read More
Colorado Civil Liberties on the Brink: Why Your Vote Matters
(This entry also appears on the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nathan-woodliffstanley-/colorado-civil-liberties_b_6820070.html) Emboldened by some of last November’s election results, Colorado legislators have flooded this year’s legislative session with bills that would roll back civil rights and civil liberties in our state. The ACLU of Colorado and our allies inside and outside of the Capitol have been successful so far in stopping the most outrageous attacks, but just.... | Read More
Meet Our Clients: Fort Collins Class Action
On Feb. 10, 2015, The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado filed a class action lawsuit challenging an anti-panhandling ordinance that is being widely enforced by Fort Collins, in violation of the free speech rights of people who are impoverished and homeless, as well as street performers and non-profit canvassers. Fort Collins police have issued “dozens and dozens” of citations, vigorously enforcing an unconstitutional law that criminalizes peaceful, non-threatening speech and expression,.... | Read More
WATCH: ACLU of Colorado Response to Jessie Hernandez Shooting
ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein held a press conference this morning responding to the Denver Police Department shooting of Jessica Hernandez. Watch video of the conference here via the Denver Post: | Read More
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.
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.
- 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.