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  • 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: acluco.org/redemption. 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 https://action.aclu.org/give/support-aclu-colorado

  • 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 Files Suit on Behalf of Former Professor Banned from Campus for Criticizing University

2/10/16

DENVER – The ACLU of Colorado filed suit this morning on behalf of Danny Ledonne, a former professor who was banned by school officials from the Adams State University campus in Alamosa, CO after he created a website criticizing various university administration practices.

From May 2011 to June 2015, Ledonne taught in the Mass Communications program and performed video production work for Adams State University.  In September 2015, after his employment at the university had ended, he launched WatchingAdams.org, a website that “provides ongoing coverage of critical news and information about Adams State University, a public institution of higher education in southern Colorado.”  The website includes public compensation data and interviews with former students, faculty, and staff.

On October 12th, Ledonne posted a series of articles criticizing the pay disparity between faculty and the administration and alleging that the university had violated the Colorado Wage Act by not making timely payments to adjunct professors.  Two days later, University President Beverlee McClure issued a “No Trespass Order” to Ledonne, delivered at his residence by campus police chief Paul Grohowski.  The order declared that for “an indefinite period of time,” Ledonne was prohibited from being on Adams State University property and that his presence on campus “would result in his immediate arrest for trespass.”

“Not only were Danny Ledonne’s First Amendment rights violated when university officials retaliated against him for operating a website criticizing their policies, the ban was issued without notice or an explanation of the evidence being used to support it, which violated his constitutional right to due process,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.

The ACLU complaint, filed this morning in Federal District Court, cites a 1973 Colorado Supreme Court decision finding that “a non-student’s right to access Colorado public university functions and facilities which are otherwise open to the public-at-large, is a valuable property or liberty interest entitled to constitutional protection.” According to the Court, access to a public university cannot be denied without first providing adequate notice of charges, reasonable opportunity to prepare to meet the charges, an orderly hearing, and a fair and impartial decision.

“We bring this lawsuit to protect the rights of not just Mr. Ledonne, but all Coloradoans,” said ACLU of Colorado cooperating attorney N. Reid Neureiter of Wheeler, Trigg, O’Donnell LLP. “As the Colorado Supreme Court has recognized, public universities are important public resources.  Members of the public should not be barred from otherwise public college campuses without being given notice of what they have supposedly done, and being given an opportunity to challenge the allegations.”

Ledonne operates a video production business, Emberwilde Productions, and many of his professional obligations require him to attend and film events on the Adams State campus, which is open to the public.  For instance, he has served as the Director of the Southern Colorado Film Festival at Adams State.  He was unable to attend the 2015 Festival because of the campus ban, which was issued just one day before the festival began.

“Adams State is the hub of artistic and cultural engagement in Alamosa.  If I cannot go on to campus for fear of being arrested, my personal reputation and ability to earn a living in this community are severely hindered,” said Ledonne.  “The climate of fear this creates for others who might also wish to speak up is a broad chilling effect that cannot go unchallenged.”

The ACLU has asked the Court to immediately stop Adams State University from enforcing the campus ban, as well as to rule that Ledonne’s constitutional right to free speech and due process were violated.

Resources:

View the ACLU complaint: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Plaintiff-Daniele-Dedonnes-Verified-Complaint.pdf

View the ACLU Motion for Preliminary Injunction: http://static.aclu-co.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Plaintiff-Daniele-Ledonnes-Motion-for-Preliminary-Inunction.pdf

Visit the case page: https://aclu-co.org/court-cases/ledonne-v-adams-state-university/



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