Half-Baked Complaint Alleges Discrimination Where There is None
(From the ACLU Blog of Rights) By Amanda Goad, LGBT Project at 10:17am When Christian educator Bill Jack ordered a cake last year from Azucar, a Denver bakery, he had a special decoration request for owner Marjorie Silva. He wanted the cake to say "God Hates Gays" with a drawing to match. Silva refused, and now she's facing a half-baked complaint from Jack alleging he was the victim of religious discrimination. Jack and others are touting this as equivalent to what happened at.... | Read More
ACLU of Colorado Attorneys Named Top Lawyers by 5280 Magazine
It's with great pride that we recognize ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein and Staff Attorney Rebecca T. Wallace who were recently named top lawyers in the field of civil rights by 5280 Magazine. The magazine chose 300 top lawyers in the Denver Metro Area in 46 specialties. Lawyers chosen for the list were selected by their peers using a combination of surveys sent out to thousands of Colorado attorneys and in-depth interviews conducted by the magazine. See the full list and read.... | Read More
Colorado Civil Liberties in Review: 12 Highlights of 2014
As 2014 closes, here are 12 highlights that represent a sample of the cases won, bills passed or defeated, and civil liberties issues raised by the ACLU of Colorado this year. There will be even more challenges ahead in 2015, from fights for privacy, free speech, voting rights and racial justice to battles against mass incarceration, capital punishment, abuse of police power, and discrimination in all its forms. Thank you to all of our members, supporters, and activists for caring about civil liberties,.... | Read More
After Tragedy, Time to Focus on the Tough Work of Reform
I am horrified by the killing of police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in New York City. I grieve for their families, and I sympathize with the outrage of the law enforcement community. At the same time, I remain horrified by the killing of Eric Garner and other victims of police violence. I grieve for their families, and I sympathize with the outrage of protesters. Are these sentiments contradictory? I don’t think so. The violent death of any person in our society is tragic,.... | Read More
Mental Illness and the Death Penalty
This past week the state of Texas was scheduled to execute a severely mentally ill man. Scott Panetti has suffered from schizophrenia and other mental illness most of his life. In 1992 he went off his medication, dressed in full camouflage and murdered his mother and father-in-law in front of his wife and daughter. When he went to trial he was allowed to represent himself during both the guilt and penalty phases of the proceedings. He dressed in a cowboy costume at court and attempted to.... | Read More
HuffPo Blog: Fix the Police! Accountability Needed in Law Enforcement
(This blog post was featured on HuffingtonPost.com December 4) Following the non-indictment of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for strangling Eric Garner to death with an illegal choke hold in Staten Island, it is clearer than ever that something is badly broken in our system of justice. Once again, a black man has been killed by a white police officer with impunity, and once again there is no accountability for excessive use of force by those who ought to be protecting our communities, not killing.... | 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.