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. 


ACLU Challenges City Government's Bid for Gag Order Against Colorado Springs Newspaper


November 7, 2002

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Colorado (ACLU) announced today that its lawyers will appear Friday in state district court in Colorado Springs to argue that a Colorado Springs alternative weekly newspaper should not be subjected to a court order forbidding it to publish information about a Colorado Springs police officer.

"A government gag order that singles out certain content in advance and forbids its publication is known in the law as a prior restraint," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "The First Amendment prohibits courts and government officials from imposing these prior restraints, which the Supreme Court has identified as most serious and least tolerable of the possible infringements on the right of free expression."


The request for the court order comes from the City of Colorado Springs, which filed suit last week to try to stop the Colorado Springs Independent from using information that its staff members obtained from Detective Jeffrey Huddleston's personnel file, which they reviewed at City Hall on October 29.


The Independent, which has been publishing each week in Colorado Springs since 1993, requested documents regarding Huddleston's job performance in conjunction with a planned investigative article intended to raise issues of police accountability in Colorado Springs.

According to the City's lawsuit, a temporary clerk made a mistake by turning over the full personnel file to Independent editor Cara DeGette and reporter John Dicker. A supervisor eventually realized the mistake and retrieved the file, but Dicker had already taken notes, which he declined to surrender. The City filed its lawsuit and request for preliminary injunction the next day. A hearing is set for Friday November 8 at 8:30 a.m., in the courtroom of Judge David A. Gilbert


"The staff members from the Independent identified themselves as reporters and were permitted to review information that the City now wishes it hadn't disclosed," said Steve Zansberg, of the law firm of Faegre & Benson, who will represent the Independent as an ACLU cooperating attorney. "But once a newspaper lawfully obtains the information, it is up to the newspaper, not the government, to decide what information it shall publish. The gag order that Colorado Springs seeks in this case is the very essence of the censorship that the First Amendment forbids."

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