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 of Colorado Launches 2020 Voter Guide Focused on Civil Liberties at Stake

DENVER – With less than 30 days until the most consequential election in American history, ACLU of Colorado launched its 2020 Voter Guide today to help people better understand the candidates’ positions on critical civil liberties issues and what ballot initiatives to look out for including: Amendment 76 regarding citizenship qualification of electors, Proposition 113 for the national popular vote, Proposition 115 concerning the ban on abortion later in pregnancy and Proposition 118 for paid family and medical leave. This year’s Voter Guide specifically focuses on the race for District Attorney, highlighting candidates in Judicial District 1 for Jefferson and Gilpin county and Judicial District 18, which includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Lincoln and Elbert counties.

“We all know who we are going to vote for at the top of the ballot, but we need everyone to be informed about ballot measures and down-ballot races like the District Attorney,” said ACLU of Colorado Campaigns Director Delana Maynes. “These races and ballot issues will have an immediate effect on the lives of Coloradans and set precedent for the entire country. It is critical for all voters to be armed with the facts and able to educate others in their community.”

ACLU does not endorse candidates, but it does take positions on amendments and propositions. This year, ACLU of Colorado is urging people to vote against misleading ballot initiatives like Amendment 76, aimed at disenfranchising younger voters and limiting accessibility at the ballot box, and Proposition 115, a politically motivated attack on abortion rights that disregards health or individual circumstances. The Guide also uplifts propositions worth saying yes to, like Proposition 118 that would allow more Colorado families access to paid family and medical leave, and Proposition 113, in support of the national popular vote to ensure that every vote in a presidential election counts.

This year’s Voter Guide is part of ACLU of Colorado’s first-ever virtual Get Out the Vote campaign in collaboration with ACLU activists and supporters. ACLU’s Get Out the Vote work will run through Election Day and continue with any necessary accountability work needed post-election.   

“Colorado has been a beacon for the nation when it comes to expanding voting rights for working people,” said ACLU of Colorado Campaign Coordinator Jen Samano. “But expansion without education is not enough. With election noise at a fever pitch, we want to give concerned Coloradan’s much-needed clarity on what’s at stake so they can vote and take meaningful action for their future.” 


ACLU of Colorado Voter Guide:  

ACLU Let People Vote Campaign: 



The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.

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